Radical Speech at NY Muslim Parade Prompts On-Stage Walk-Off

The United West, an activist group led by Tom Trento, released video from the 27th Annual Muslim Day Parade in New York City that took place on Sunday, September 23, showing state Senator Tony Avella (D-11th District) walking off-stage in disgust over Islamist rhetoric.

The video shows an imam with a thick accent from Brooklyn stating on stage, “The freedom of speak and freedom of rights our problem starts. So, I would like to demand United Nations to make an international law that would criminalize blasphemy.” He reiterates the need for legislation “for the protection of the honor of our beloved prophet.”

Such legislation is one of the foremost causes of Islamists around the world, as it would result in the prosecution and punishment of any perceived attack on Islam, including criticism of the religion or of Islamists that equate criticism of their radical ideology with attacks on all Muslims. This is the call of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, and Imam Mohammad Qatanani of the Islamic Center of Passaic County -- better known as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's "friend,” whom he calls a “force for good” under fire from “bigots.”

The second speaker recited a poem she wrote that stated, “We have the unborn martyrs in our wombs and drop bombs in here because all that we blow up is minds in minefields.” According to Trento, she then condemned the U.S. and called on the ummah (Muslims worldwide) to rise up. The tape further shows her declaring that Palestinians in refugee camps are “housed by Zionist Nazis.” Of course, she didn’t mention the apartheid state in Lebanon that discriminates against Palestinians or the poor treatment they get in other countries.

State Senator Tony Avella, a marshall of the parade, walked off-stage in clear disgust over the comments.

Extremism at the Muslim Day Parade isn’t anything new. The Clarion Fund’s documentary The Third Jihad includes footage of a small group of radicals from the Islamic Thinkers Society and Revolution Muslim preaching about replacing democracy with Shariah law. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the Muslim patriot who narrates the film, describes the parade as the “perfect microcosm” of the Muslim-American community. The large majority proudly declare their love for America, but a louder minority is also there.

I was at this same parade featured in the documentary and remember these same speakers justifying attacks on U.S. soldiers overseas and repeating the same kind of extremist themes. I approached an individual who appeared to be one of the parade's organizers. He stood near a sign for the Islamic Circle of North America, and I asked him to condemn Hamas. He wouldn’t comment.

I also remember watching in horror as some Muslims took literature from the Islamic Thinkers Society, a group that barely hides its extremism. Heading home after the parade, I couldn’t stop worrying about the damage those pamphlets could cause in the future. How many Muslims, especially young ones still trying to determine their views on the world, would be influenced by this rhetoric? Were those pamphlets the seeds for future terrorist attacks?