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Pattaya Daily News

12 September 2010 :: 15:09:04 pm 38399

Islamic Center Protests Mar September 11 Anniversary

Demonstrations both for and against a proposal to build an Islamic cultural center within a few hundred meters of Ground Zero have marred yesterdays anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that brought down the two World Trade Center buildings in New York.
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United States, the 12th of September 2010: Arguments broke out in the street between competing demonstrators close to the Ground Zero site on Saturday, with hundreds of people in attendance to mark the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks across the United States.

New York authorities blocked off the surrounding streets to the site of the controversial Islamic cultural center, a short walk from Ground Zero, while mounted police and dog squads separated two rival demonstrations avoiding potentially violent clashes.

Radical Dutch politician Geert Wilders spoke at the anti-Islam center demonstrations, which included citizens from a variety of different groups including, anti-war activists, former US Marines, Buddhists and the biker gang ‘Hell’s Angels’. Along with Mr. Wilders, the rally was addressed by the former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton and other Republican commentators.

Mr. Wilders is a highly controversial right-wing politician from the Netherlands, who publicly voices his beliefs that Islam is comparable to Fascism. He told the gathered crowd that the planned cultural center should not be allowed at all costs. “We must never give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us, draw this line so that New York will never become New Mecca,” he said.

Anti-mosque campaigners, some holding “never forget” plaques and banners, voiced their opinions that the plans for an Islamic center so close to Ground Zero are an insult. “This is hallowed ground. It’s something like Gettysburg or Pearl Harbour. Why did they have to do it here? Be a little sensitive,” said Theresa Angelo [57], an anti-mosque protester.

Various segments of the main anniversary ceremony, including families of the deceased, announced their disappointment at the staging of the two rallies, saying that the act was disrespectful, while others professed that “now was the time to speak out”.

Meanwhile, speaking at a memorial event at the Pentagon, another site of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama paid tribute to this that lost their lives. He said that while it was tempting to dwell on their final moments, the memorial events were taking place “to remember the fullness of their time on Earth”.

Mr Obama also repeated his recent calls for unity, saying: “It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was al-Qaeda. We will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust.”

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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