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article imageAnti-Mosque Crowd Harasses Suspected Muslim Special

By Kim I. Hartman     Aug 23, 2010 in World
New York - It started as another anti-mosque rally at Ground Zero and then turned into an ugly mob scene -- a man walking through the crowd was mistakenly thought to be Muslim, prompting the throng to hurl angry, hateful words at him.
Opponents of a planned Islamic center near Ground Zero gathered in Lower Manhattan on Sunday to denounce the project.
This turned into a volatile situation when protesters jumped to the conclusion that a black man with a skull-cap type head covering on was spotted and judged to be Muslim.
One member of the crowd, Aaron Webber, 32, of Queens, New York, was filming the protest and while attempting to get a good view and picture of the crowd chanting "No Mosque Here" he was able to capture the disturbing scene as it unfolded.
Aaron Webber spoke with Digital Journal this evening and said "the protesters were denouncing Islam itself, not merely the community center project or the mosque."
"Things got progressively worse", Webber said. "This was definitely an experience."
"The protest had moved just down the street, with the crowd continuing to chant when the African-American man was approached by the man in the hardhat who definitely was trying to provoke a fight," said Webber.
The man repeatedly said he was not Muslim but the angry mob by this time was calling out hate filled words including "Muhammad is a pig", after he was walking away, and calling the black man a coward as protest organizers tried to intervene.
"As the man is led away by rally organizers one person shouted "He must have voted for Obama." When some rally participants seek to defuse the confrontation, one man says, "we're against the Muslims, not each other," said Webber when sharing the details of the situation.
Webber said. "After the man was escorted away by what he assumed was a plain-clothes officer he left, as instructed, when it was announced that the event was over for the day."
He saw the man on the next corner, walking down the street, and caught up with him in an attempt to speak with him about what had just happened. The man said his name was Kenny and he worked at Ground Zero on the construction of the new buildings. Webber said "Kenny's reaction and responses were very peaceful and Zen-like to him."
Kenny said he was a union carpenter and was not Muslim. He said he had rights too and these people were denying him his constitutional rights with their hatred for anything that appeared to be Muslim or Muslim oriented. Kenny said he probably worked along-side the man in the hard hat on the construction site of what use to be the World Trade Center's twin towers. Kenny added he would not be surprised to run into the man on the job site in the next few days.
Webber said they discussed the scary moment and he told Kenny, "I hoped it did not ruin his day."
When asked who were the organizers of this protest, Webber said he thought one of them was Pam Geller but he could not be sure of that and that people are beginning to change their opinions of Geller and other organizers of these events.
Webber said he hopes that people will use the videotape he made as a mirror to see what they are doing, what they look like and how their fear was turning into anger and rage against a people. He felt their reactions and feelings are misdirected and felt that something bad could come of this behaviour or worse that someone may be injured or killed by the mob mentality that rules some of these protests and protesters actions.
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