My esteemed colleague, Caroline B. Glick, recently penned an article for the Jewish Press in which she praised individual American Jewish grassroots activists as “extraordinary Jews,” who, on their own, and without any support from larger Jewish organizations have, one by one, been ensuring that strong pro-Israel views are being heard in America. Glick views these individuals as “part of a growing (volunteer) army of individual Jews throughout the U.S. who are moved to act by their conviction that Israel must be defended against the expanding alliance of the international Left and the forces of global jihad.”
And now, let us praise (and continue to praise) those extraordinary grassroots civilians who organized yesterday’s rally in Times Square against Radical Islam and those 300-500 people who came and stood in the driving rain to listen to the words of Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians, direct and indirect victims of Islamic terrorism, enslavement, and persecution, who came together to stand against a common global enemy.
As I’ve written before: This is precisely the kind of “civilian army” that is needed, that is immune from cheap totalitarian charges of “racism,” that is, potentially, a model for world governments (India, Israel, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, the European Union, the United States, for starters,) who have not yet found ways to unite against jihad.
The Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam has a website where you may find the names of yesterday’s speakers and the profoundly impressive list of co-sponsoring organizations.
FOX-News was there and ran a brief clip. The Jewish Press printed an announcement about the rally which appeared on May 1st. The AP wire sent out the Coalition’s press release; no one knows if was picked up. However, the mainstream American media, CNN, CSPAN, and Channels 1, 2, 4, 7, 13 were not there. There has been no coverage in my local newspapers, nothing in the NY Post, NY Times, Wall Street Journal. If these (failing) papers do not cover an event, it is still as if that event has never happened—at least for those who rely solely upon the mainstream media.
However, I am told that the Asia Times network was there– and, so were bloggers who have now begun to capture for us and for all time, the extraordinarily dignified and serious faces of the speakers, coalition organizers, and audience. So far, you may find photos and commentaries at Atlas Shrugs and here, below.
My speech is posted HERE. However, I was not able to deliver it. (Full disclosure: Given that I am still on a walker and a cane, my physical therapist absolutely forbid my risking any crowd pushing and shoving and I reluctantly yielded to his wisdom). However, I alerted my colleague, Fern Sidman, to the rally. Although she covered it for a number of places, she kindly crafted the following paragraph and a series of photographs to share with my readers. Here is what Sidman has written:
“The pouring rain did not stop over 300-400 concerned citizens from attending a rally in Times Square, sponsored by the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam. Comprised of people from all religious, ethnic, racial and sexual preference groups including Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Israelis and secularists, the focus of today’s events, which featured a diverse selection of speakers, was to educate and mobilize people to support freedom, democracy and tolerance and to oppose the inherent dangers that radical Islam presents to those who cherish the aforementioned ideals.
Speaking today were Pastor Gerald Bell, a black minister who personally traveled to the Sudan to help liberate African slaves from their Muslim captors, Tawfik Hamid, a former jihadi terrorist, Beth Gilinsky of the Jewish Action Alliance who spoke of the burgeoning menace of radical Islam and how it will effect the future of Israel in terms of Iran’s growing nuclear arsenal, (and who read my speech as well), Arish Sahani, of the Indian American Intellectual Forum who spoke of the barbaric and systematic slaughter of Hindus in Pakistan. He also mentioned, “the alarming trend of Hindu girls being kidnapped, raped and held in Madrassas and forcibly converted to Islam”.
Quoting a Hindu American Foundation report he said, “In 1947, in what is Bangladesh today, Hindus composed 30% of the population. Today they are less than 10%. Every day there are acts of murder, rape, kidnappings, temple destruction and physical intimidation. Just yesterday, areas captured by the Taliban forced followers of the Sikh religion to vacate their homes and businesses for not paying the oppressive Jizya tax.”
Also speaking were Israeli citizen, Shlomi Azulay, who just barely escaped with his life in the 2002 Hamas suicide bombing at the Moment Cafe in downtown Jerusalem. Azulay’s back and knee were severely injured and he suffered psychological and emotional scars that manifested themselves in daily flashbacks and nightmares. His dear friend was killed right in front of his eyes. He asked those attending this rally to speak out against the heinous murders of all citizens in Israel by Hamas terrorists and to petition the government of Israel and the USA not to back down from their position of political isolation of such groups.
Bruce DeCell, a retired NYC police officer representing the 9/11 Families organization and who lost his 28 year-old son-in-law, Mark Petrocelli, (a commodities trader) on 9/11, spoke of the lack of interest by the mainstream media of this rally. “Where is CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX and CNN?” he asked. Speaking about his personal loss, he said, “there is always an empty chair at our table every holiday for Mark, my son-in-law who was murdered on 9/11.”
In addition, Steve Gerson, Simon Deng, Mohammed Yahya, Michael Cutler, Bhupinder Singh Bhurji, Joy Brighton, Rajinder Singh Khalsa, and Robert Schneider also spoke.
Here are some excerpts from the speeches.
Steve Gerson, a member of HCARI, welcomed the crowd. He explained that: “HRCARI is not anti-Muslim; rather,it is specifically against Radical Islam, which has, if anything, plagued Muslims more than even non-Muslims. This organization stands for human rights, and we are looking to enforce the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This vision of human rights is in line with the original vision of the United Nations, namely, that all human beings are equal before the law, and that there shall be no discrimination against individuals on the part of race, color, or creed.”
Arish Sahani, of the Indian American Intellectual Forum:
“What about Hindus in majority India? In one area of India where Hindus are a minority, Kashmir valley, 300,000 Hindus were driven out by radical islamists from their homes using rape, murder and intimidation. They are living in squalid camps for last 18 years. Six to eight families are living in one room with meager assistance from Government. In just the last 4 years both in the number of people died due to terrorism and in the number of terror incidents in India it is just next to the war torn country Iraq.
Can you imagine being forced to live as refugees in your own country? Can you imagine if you have a daughter you never know when she will be kidnapped and converted? Can you imagine witnessing the destruction of your worship places that have thousands of years of history being blown out to pieces? Can you imagine your worship place being converted to a slaughter house? Can you imagine non-Muslims driven away from Michigan, USA and forced to live as refugees in USA? This is what radical islamists are capable of doing. This is the violation of human rights and pure genocide by radical Islam.
Now the question is: Do you want to live under radical Islam? Do you know what radical Islam is? Do you know what happens when radical Islam takes over you neighborhood? Do you know that under radical Islam no other religion can exist?Jews, Christians and Hindus will be just killed.”
Narain Kataria, of The Namdhari Sikh Foundation:
“I am an American Sikh. Originally I am from India. We are the followers of Guru Nanak ji, a great philosopher, poet and saint. During the 400 years of Islamic rule in India, Sikhs have suffered the most (barbaric torture and murder of our leaders and our people by Muslim jihadists. After three hundred years of torture), Sikhs finally said enough is enough. They organized themselves, stood up and finally chased out all the invaders from India. We Sikhs fight in self-defense only. We are always ready to help any weak and helpless person. We Sikhs are well known as very good fighters. We were the mainstay of the British army in India.
Talibans are taking over Pakistan. There is possibility of Taliban taking over control of atomic weapons in Pakistan. The situation is becoming very dangerous. Iran is supplying weapons to Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Iran is developing nuclear weapons. The situation is becoming very explosive. The world should learn from Sikhs as to how to handle the barbarians. Our freedom of expression is in danger. The future of our children is in danger. On behalf of my organization I offer my full support to the Coalition of Human Rights against Radical Islam.
God Bless America.
Pastor Gerald Bell delivered a passionate speech on his own and then also delivered Charles (The David Project) Jacobs’ speech. Jacobs said:
“May 3rd, 2009. Times Square. Remember this time and this place. This is the moment that freedom loving peoples in America began to fight back against the growing threat of a global movement that aspires to destroy our world, and our freedom.Here, today, a few miles from where almost 3,000 of us were slaughtered, we — people of all races and many cultures and countries — band together to resist the world’s newest barbarism – Radical, Political Islam.”
Only in America can all the victims of jihad – black, white, and yellow and brown – gather and join in a brotherhood and a sisterhood of freedom…
Some people, hearing us ring a warning bell will call us paranoid and even “racist.” But… go ask the Black African-Sudanese if jihad is a needless worry. Or the Asian Christian Pakistanis, or the Christians in Egypt and Lebanon and Iraq, or the Hindus in Mumbai, the Bhuddists in Thailand, the Jews in Israel and Europe. We are not the racists.”
Shlomi Azulay, an Israeli victim of a terrorist attack on a nightclub in Jerusalem in 2002, said, “Israel is the canary in the coal mine. Just as I was nearly killed in Israel, so the Indians in Mumbai were nearly killed this past November. It is essential to remain vigilant, and stand united against Radical Islam, an ideology which attacks Israelis not because of any particular policy within Israel, but simply because Israel exists.”
Beth Gilinsky, President of the Jewish Action Alliance:
Now there is more than enough evidence to prove that radical Islam is the most brutal form of oppression we have seen since Nazism. Among those attacked by jihadists are the Jews of Europe and elsewhere; Sudanese Christians and Sudanese of indigenous religions; Lebanese Christians; the persecuted Coptic Christians of Egypt; other Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. living within in the Arab and Muslim world, or in Europe or elsewhere who are being persecuted by violent jihadists; those being physically attacked because they are gay or lesbian; women and girls being persecuted under shariah law because of their gender; others persecuted, assaulted, or slaughtered as “infidels” or for their faith or anti-jihadist political opinions.”
And now for the photos, which capture the utter gravity, beauty, dignity and seriousness of all who were there at this “defining moment.”
Pastor Gerald Bell
Michael W. Cutler, the Center For Immigration Studies
Bruce DeCell, former NYC police officer who lost his son on 9/11
Martin Rosenthal, Queers Against Radical Islam