This is a cross-post by Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens
Pamela Geller, the executive director of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), has said she will ignore the pleas of a number 9/11 families to cancel a proposed protest against the Park51 Islamic centre on the anniversary of the World Trade Centre attacks.
A local Manhattan media site reports:
The ninth anniversary of 9/11 is the wrong day to hold rallies about the planned mosque and community center near Ground Zero, say relatives of the New Yorkers who died in the World Trade Center.
The group Stop Islamization of America is planning a massive rally near Ground Zero for the afternoon of Sept. 11, and those who support the project plan to hold a counter-protest.
“On this one day, we’re hopeful there don’t have to be rallies and protests, that we leave that day to remembrance and service in memory of those who perished,” said Jay Winuk, whose brother, Glenn Winuk, 40, a volunteer firefighter, was killed in the attacks.
“Whether you’re pro or con on the mosque issue, that’s not what this is about,” said Winuk, who declined to give his position. “This isn’t an appropriate day to do a protest of this sort.”
Winuk and David Paine, co-founders of My Good Deed, an organization that promotes volunteerism on the anniversary of 9/11, sent a letter to both sides this week, asking them not to rally. The letter was signed by about a dozen family members, including representatives of the Tribute WTC Visitor Center and September 11 Families Association.
Pamela Geller, executive director of Stop Islamization of America, said in a statement that her protest would go forward as planned.
“The rally is one of remembrance, dedicated to honoring the memory of those who were murdered, and making sure their memory is not desecrated by this mosque,” Geller said. “How does such a spectacle in any way dishonor the victims of the 9/11 attacks?”
Geller plans to hold a memorial service at the beginning of her rally and is asking participants to bring American flags, rather than signs, to give the event a more somber tone.
It comes as no surprise that Geller would ignore these concerns, and in response SIOA has stated:
We are aware that some 9/11 families, while declaring their opposition to the mega-mosque, have asked us to move the date from September 11 because they feel that our rally will be “disrespectful.” As they must know, we did not choose the date of the rally to be “disrespectful” for those who were murdered on September 11, 2001. In fact, we did not choose it at all. The date was chosen for us when Daisy Khan announced that the Islamic supremacists plan to break ground for their mosque on September 11, 2011. (She denies this now, contradicting her own words.)
They are trying to co-opt the date of September 11 for their own nefarious purposes. We are not willing to let them succeed in that attempt. In a certain sense, we are all 9/11 family members: as a nation, we all suffered grievous harm on September 11, 2001. As Americans, we want to reclaim September 11 as a day of mourning – and as a day of national resolve and remembrance to stand up to the inhuman ideology that slaughtered 3,000 precious souls on September 11, 2001.
Although they share a very similar outlook, SIOA does not appear to have any formal links with Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), a particularly unpleasant anti-Muslim group which we have covered in the past.
My mistake – indeed there are very close links between SIOA and SIOE, as this video of Pamela Geller introducing SIOE founder Anders Gravers demonstrates:
Here, the SIOE refer to SIOA as their “sister organisation”.
For those of you who are interested, here is Geller’s attack on me where she recommends that I be fired. Stay tuned to this blog for more on Geller, SIOA and SIOE – you won’t be disappointed (for starters, she’s quite a fan of the English Defence League!!).