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Muslims feel growing hostility as 9/11 anniversary approaches and ‘Ground Zero mosque’ is built

6 September 2011 General 36 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Worshippers attend the Friday afternoon prayer service at the Park51 Community Center on Park Place.

Worshippers attend the Friday afternoon prayer service at the Park51 Community Center on Park Place.

BY Lisa L. ColangeloRocco Parascandola and Larry Mcshane

The scent of incense fills the room as the faithful gather quietly for afternoon prayers, their hands turned toward the ceiling, their shoes lined along the back wall.

Outside, an NYPD van sits in the sunshine. Dozens of metal police barricades line the sidewalk bordering 51 Park St. – aka the controversial Ground Zero mosque.

“People are not welcome anymore building mosques in neighborhoods,” says Mohammed Aziz, 49, who joined a diverse crowd of cops, MTA workers and financial wizards at the crowded service.

“We didn’t experience that before 9/11.”

The day Islamic terrorists brought down the World Trade Center changed life in many ways – some dramatic, others subtle – for the city’s 600,000 Muslims.

Either way, NYPD crime stats show the change was almost instantaneous.

Between Jan. 1, 2001, and Sept. 10, 2001, police reported zero bias incidents against Muslims. In the 112 days after the twin towers toppled, there were 96, nearly one a day.

Things slowly returned to normal, with zero incidents reported in 2004 – although many Muslims felt a growing sense of unease.

Their fears were confirmed last year when a national furor erupted over the Park St. mosque. Bias attacks on Muslim New Yorkers tripled from the year prior, up from six to 19.

The assaults included a cab fare who slashed his driver with a knife after asking if the man was a Muslim.

Such once-innocuous inquiries are now delivered with a menacing subtext, says Bhairavi Desai, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance.

“The most subtle change is the tone of that question: ‘Where are you from?'” says Desai, whose membership of 15,000 is about half Muslim.

“It’s almost kind of implying, ‘Why are you not an American?’ There’s a questioning of loyalty now in the tone.”

A taxi union survey done last year indicated 55% of city cabbies were told to “go back to your country” or targeted with ethnic slurs in the previous 12 months.

Nationally, a Pew Research Center poll released last month found 43% of Muslim Americans reported experiencing harassment in the last year.

Aziz’s assertion about anti-mosque sentiment was backed by a 35-page NYCLU report citing nine recent instances statewide – including public opposition to planned mosques in Sheepshead Bay and Staten Island.

Abed Ayoub, who came to lower Manhattan for the ninth anniversary memorial last September, arrived to find the feud over the Ground Zero mosque in full roar.

The Michigan native said he also found an undefinable tension in the heated air.

“I don’t want to say hatred,” says Ayoub, legal director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. “But people looking as if I was different. Very upsetting.

“Here I am, born and raised in Detroit – it really caught me off guard.”

The head developer of the controversial 51Park Community Center, Sharif El-Gamal, says he never felt singled out because of his religion despite all the vitriol surrounding the project.

“Nobody bothers me at all,” he says. “I walk around, and there’s never any problem.”

Yet many other Muslims are reluctant to speak, fearful of drawing the attention of law enforcement. They suspect their mosques are bugged, and their ranks singled out for surveillance.

At a prayer service inside Masjid Hazrat-I-Abu Bakr Islamic Center in Flushing, a month before th 10th anniversary of 9/11, not one worshiper would speak.

The mosque made the headlines when jailed would-be terrorist Najibullah Zazi prayed there during a 2009 New York visit. One of its former imams was revealed as an FBI informant – who also double-crossed the feds by alerting Zazi that he was under surveillance.

Back at 51 Park, Aziz gets ready to start his prayers. He hopes for the best as the 10th anniversary approaches, although his optimism is tempered.

“People are not completely friendly like they were before,” he says. “After 9/11, kids going to school were experiencing discrimination from other students. And from a minority of teachers.”

He pauses to consider a question: Whose kids?

“My kids,” he replies.

Original post: Muslims feel growing hostility as 9/11 anniversary approaches and ‘Ground Zero mosque’ is built


  1. strange? i think i just read that “Prejudice against Islam has little to do with September 11” somewhere?????????

  2. The headline should say ”Christians and other religions are feeling growing hostility towards them in Muslim countries”…

  3. Lisa L. Colangelo, Rocco Parascandola and Larry Mcshane:

    While I can actually appreciate the semi-colons around the ‘Ground Zero mosque’, we all KNOW that it’s NOT a mosque NOR is it at the World Trade Center site!!

    As long as we bend to the devilish will of Islamaphobes who intentionally gave the Islamic community center or Park 51 that misnomer (i.e. ‘ground zero mosque’), they are successful in the propagation of that lie.

    Don’t give them any success. Call a lie a lie and a liar a liar.

  4. @ Mike

    Did you actually read that article? It just showed how there was anti-muslim agendas before 9/11 even occurred. This article relates to the public and how the view of Islam changed for them, from indifferent to hostile.

  5. truthio,

    no, is the headline misleading? i’ll go read it.

  6. truthio,

    so would not a better headline have been something like, “Prejudice against Islam has intensified since September 11”?

    “This article relates to the public and how the view of Islam changed for them, from indifferent to hostile.”

    so let me ask you this. if a 9/11 style attack was carried out by christians or jews in, lets say in turkey. what do you think the response from the turkish population would be?

  7. Well, they have a right to build a Mosque 2 blocks from the WTC remains. However, I do not see how it is going to build an interfaith dialog and promote relations when it is opposed by so many people on that grounds that it is not an appropriate site for said community center. In my viewpoint the pushers behind this project are simply thumbing their noses at strong opposition. Since this is not a way to build bridges, I have to assume they have a crass disregard for the views of others and a strong desire to do what they want even at the cost of the purported goals of the center. I anticipate that this center will generate a lot of news pertaining to how some Americans are Islamaphobic as I cannot imagine it not suffering from quite a bit of vandalism once built. In addition if there are nuts out there with a grudge I am going to guess that center will attract them like a flies to honey. Of course the builders have to know this which makes me curious about their agenda. However, since no one knows where the 100 million dollars to build this mosque is coming from it is more likely we are hearing from paid employees posing as builders rather than the actual builders.

  8. Why would it be surprising that there is hostility toward Islam given the slaughter of almost 3000 Americans by Islamic terrorists on 9/11? The celebrations by some Muslims of that atrocity and the ongoing terrorist attacks by Muslims worldwide.It seems to me that the more people learn about Islam the less the like it. The latest news Muslims from Pakistan blew up a court in India killing 11 people to “protest” the death penalty for a convicted Muslim terrorist.

  9. lslam is going through its hard time.The problem the non-muslims hav with lslam is their refusal to study lslam.The truth is that,without sentiment some muslims have given a serious bad image to lslam by their practices.No doubt,western countries anti-lslamic foreign policies is not helping matter.God bless the world!

  10. @hera
    and enlighten me who are the guys that usually have signs saying “thank god for 9-11” because it certainly isn’t affiliated with any muslim group I know the name escapes me I am hoping you can help me out here um the name starts with a w has the word “church” in it oh and here is some pictures of muslims “celebrating” 9-11

  11. Cory, Most people do not care what a bunch of inbreds from Westburo Baptist Church have to say. That is the most unchristian group of people I have ever had the pleasure to read about and see on television. I sincerely doubt if a single member of that group is actually a Christian.
    I understand having a go at Hera, however, it does not change the simply fact that a vast majority of people have the viewpoint she espoused. The question is “What are Muslims going to do about changing that viewpoint?” From what I have seen Muslim are very inept at public relations and cannot see that just shouting that we are being treated unfairly does no good at all. Case in point is the park51 community center. Despite strong feelings, be they for the right or wrong reasons, the building of the center will continue. Muslims have a right to build the center in that location, but how does that help public relations or better the image of American Muslims? Instead of simply moving to a different location the Muslim leadership decided to upset hundreds of thousands of people(if not millions) and build it in a controversial spot. The Muslim community will get their way but at what cost? To me its sort of like throwing gasoline on a fire and then complaining when your eyebrows are singed off. You may survive the results but the action itself was simply stupid.

  12. ccc,

    “bunch of inbreds from Westburo Baptist Church”… “I sincerely doubt if a single member of that group is actually a Christian”
    don’t know if you can actually say that. do you know if any are a product of incest? i saw the one chic who argueed their case in front of the supreme court on tv once and she knew her bible inside and out. anyways, do you believe that we all come from adam and eve. don’t be like these muslims who would stand by their own religion and answer simple questions!

  13. Mike, I doubt if they are really inbred, I just decided to throw out a an insult. I do not do it often but I really do not like those people. I stand by my Christian comments however, simply because they spew hate like water from a garden hose.

    Adam and Eve is an interesting question next you will be asking me if the world is more than 5 thousand years old or so. Do I believe in Adam and Eve? Sure I do. Can I tell you how Cane could be scared of other people if he was the son of the first 2 people on earth? No I cannot. I have my opinions on the subject but they are not relevant to my overall faith. Simplistly, God can do whatever can be done in whatever timeframes suit him. Religion is based upon faith, some questions cannot be answered in any suitable way. The focus on absolute proof gets into the way of studying the passages and attempting to understand why that particular story was included in the bible and what we need to learn from it. I know this answer will not satisify you but I have no definitive answer, only faith.

    Something has always had to exist be it God or whatever existed before the big bang. Science cannot explain how the big bang came to be: from nothing to something? Could there ever be nothing? The notion of God, however, does not preclude the Big Bang, or evolution, or the creation of man in conjuction with the evolution of other men along side the ones created in his image. Anyway, these points are better discussed in oral dialog or written about when a person has much more time and space to do so.

  14. Hera

    Oh you must like eating shit cause you seem full of it. You think Muslims CELEBRATE 9-11?? We don’t like t, at all. A teacher of mine actually announced it yesterday that 9/11 was coming up and that we should pray for all the victims because they were people!!! Just because ONCE Eid fell on 9/11 doesn’t mean we celebrate the death 3000 people, we follow the Lunar Calendar, that’s why it fell on that day. And I PRAY for the lost souls every time this event comes around. You have no idea what you’re saying. Cause we just love slaughtering people for no reason. Don’t be ignorant, no sane person would actually support the murder of innocent people.

    9/11 was a horrible tragedy, and no Muslim likes to think of September 11th as a happy day because it wasn’t. And by the way, the more a person learns about Islam the more the less ignorant they are of the religion. whether they lie it or not is up to them, no one is gonna force them to change their minds. Have you learned anything about Islam from anywhere besides the media and racist people in your neighborhood?

    Probably not.

  15. criley

    I get what your saying, I don’t feel comfortable with the fact that a Mosque is being built near the site, but why would it bother them so much….disrespectful you say? Well what about the nightclubs and strip clubs so close to that site? So shoving bunch of half naked women and drunken people shouting at them near ground zero is not disrespectful?

    And NO. A vast majority of muslims believe in peace and serenity, not killing people. AT LEAST 90% of Muslims believe in peace and just want to live like normal human beings. the rest of the angry and stupid people who call themselves muslims are the ones who blow up things and fight “for Allah” (fight for Him my ass, they are using Islam to justify their violent and angry beliefs.)

  16. Shut up, mike.

  17. ccc,

    “Adam and Eve is an interesting question next you will be asking me if the world is more than 5 thousand years old or so.” no my next question would have been where did the third generation come from?

    “don’t be like these muslims who would stand by their own religion and answer simple questions!” sorry that should have read “would not” or “won’t”


    “Shut up, mike.”

    lol…..that is truly sad!!!!!!

  18. Well Mike, I sort of answered the third generation question within the rebuttal. A similar question could have been asked in reference to Noah after the flood in that for the world to repopulate incest would have had to occur as the number of people alive after the flood was very small indeed. I do not even pretend to have these answers, though, I do have theories and thoughts. In the end religious peoples simply have to make the “leap of faith” if they are to stay religious.

    Science relies upon empirical evidence as a foundation for knowledge. Every year, new discoveries are made rendering, what was thought to be knowledge, obsolete. We advance, even though some of the tools we use to advance are not what they seemed when we started using them. Understanding is important but use to serve a goal is just as important and in many instances more important in the short term. In religion striving for understanding is important but in many areas use is all we gotten so far.

  19. Mike
    Sorry the shut up thing was bcuz of your mistake

    don’t be like these muslims who would stand by their own religion and answer simple questions!

    I thought it was rude so. you know lol but you changed it, so sorry :p

  20. ccc,

    so are you saying there where humanoids on the planet predating the fall from grace? and they bred with the children of adam and eve? they where not given divine knowledge? sounds very much like what the cair guy i had dinner with said. but we where leaving and i didn’t think of this question? did they have souls? what happens when a person “made in god’s image” has a child with a neanderthal?

    you ever hear of dr dino?


    no sweat, just thought for an aspiring wordsmith you could do better.

  21. Mike, I said that I did not have the answers, now matter what I conjecture it can and will be torn apart. The bible states that Adam and Even were the first, maybe he created more, maybe the timelines as we think of them now were longer in that Adam and Eve had many children over the course of many years but we focus on the eldest in the bible. Maybe a lot of things. Regardless of the answer the focus has to be on what is to be learned from the information we are given. One can take the leap and believe or not and classify the story as a fable.

  22. “the focus has to be on what is to be learned from the information”

    so what is to be learned by the information?

  23. Well there is the story of Their fall, their thinking and truths that can be taken from it. There is the thought processes of Cain before and after he killed his brother. There is the question of “Am I my brother’s keeper?” There are the truths about how man must work to survive, and a few others. Some seem pretty clear but you need to remember the Bible has straddled ages of men and its passages generate much discussion. Mike, you know this it is only the efficacy of the teachings you question and the fact that many other explanations can exist.

  24. ccc,

    did you see zanibars verse on the allen west article. do you know what proceeds that in the koran?

  25. sorry for misspelling your name zainab…


    “I said that I did not have the answers,” you a kid rock fan?

    “And this is for the questions that don’t have any answers, the midnight
    glancers and the topless dancers, the gander freeks, cars packed with
    speakers, the G’s with the 40’s and the chicks with beepers. The Northern
    lights, in the Southern cover and it don’t even matter if the things are
    punctured. All the crack–heads, the cridics, the sidics, and all my heros at the methidone clinics. All you bastards at the IRS for the crooked cops, and the cluttered desks. For the shots of Jack, and the caps of math, half pints of love, and to feel so stressed. For the hookers all drinking out in Hollywood and for my hoods of the world misunderstood I said “Its all in good and its all in fun. NOW GET IN THE PIT AND TRY TO LOVE SOMEONE!!””

    sounds corrupting, kill the kid!!!

    you may be more muslim then you think?

    “Allah Almighty created all of the races and genders. Even though Adam peace be upon him was the first Mankind-Creation by Allah Almighty, but no one is really certain that all of us came from his loin. In other words, it is possible that Allah Almighty later on created more people and more races after Adam and Eve and their children.”

  26. It’s just a shame FDR or some one like him is not our president.
    FDR would of sent all those middle easterns packing or in a concentration camp.
    On one note Saddam Hussien knew how to handle terrorist.
    He put real fear in them. We should take note.

  27. No you know what, God created only Adam and Eve, right?

    They had two sets of twins. Let’s call them

    Mary and Joseph. Zachariyah and Aminah.

    The boy twin (Zach) fro the other twin set would marry Mary, and Jo would marry Aminah so that it wouldn’t feel so much like being with your sibling and God in his wisdom showed that, and they would mate, and it would continue so until there were enough cousins and distant relatives to have a healthy tribe or clan. After that, Allah forbade incest of any kind.

  28. Kerwin

    That’s a dangerously ignorant point of view.

    Why though. Do you know how many Christians and Jews are Middle Easterners? Should we imprison them too?

    Uhm, no. Extremism is NOT Islam. Just because Radicals tried to destroy the face of Islam doesn’t mean they will turn it.

    \But for the most part, people just don’t like muslims cause they think we are all brown and dirty desert people. In Islam you must stay squeeky clean to pray, to do AnYTHING. we are recquired to wash up for our prayers 5 times a day. Our cleanliness was being practiced while Europeans were still scratching their dirty and bug infested frocks they’ve been wearing for months. And oh yea, Europeans never used to bathe because they thought it was unhealthy and immodest….they sure showed the black plague.

    And not all Muslims OR Arabs are brown. Many are pale or white skinned, many have blue and green eyes. Just take a look at my family….most of us are pale pale paleeeee.

    And the Mddle East is the home of the Fertile Crescent, of Mesopetamia, of Sumeria, where all the first civilizations began. The Middle East whether you like it or not, was the cradle of civilization. Do your history homework, deal with it.

    By the way Kerwin, where are your grandparents from? Maybe your great grandparents? Italy? Poland? Germany? Another European country? Maybe they were here since the 1600’s, but that means they were Brits, either way, they were European immigrants. Here for a better life. Like us. We aren’t here to terrorize, just settle ourselves like your grandparents or ancestors did. So calling US immigrants while you drink you Brazilian coffee, eat your chinese food, and drive your german/italian car, think. ok? THINK. it’s not illegal yet.

  29. It wasn’t just japanese that FDR rounded up he rounded up Germans to. And once the war was over they were released.
    The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few.
    And the terriost are winning our rights have been stripped.

    It’s just a shame muslims are not infiltrating these groups and exposing them.
    Now I have nothing personal against other races and religions it’s what made us the greatest country in the world.
    But our leaders are bringing us down, we need presidents like Andrew Jackson,FDR and good ole Harry Truman.

  30. kerwin,

    “And the terriost are winning our rights have been stripped.”
    “It wasn’t just japanese that FDR rounded up he rounded up Germans to. And once the war was over they were released.”

    your two thoughts seem diametrically opposed?


    your tangents are great. don’t let those ap teachers tell you your sentences run-on. brevity is over rated. those dirty eurotrash got what they deserved. but i don’t think washing would have stopped the black death. killing the rats would have helped. but wait you have to be kind to animals, right? even fleas? but don’t wash your feet in the sink, it will get you fired. american women appearently don’t want to walk into the bathroom at work to see a fellow employee with her foot in the sink. btw i drive a chevy.

  31. Mike

    I didn’t know this was an English assignment. Damn. Ayway, I’m not really calling anyone eurotrash or dirty, but wasn’t that the history, medieval times were a bad tme to live cause of the plague and what not. And actualy, at the time, their religious views were kind of outrageous because they killed cats, saying they were aids of witches or part of witches’ spells, and since there weren’t many cats around to eat the rats which housed the fleas, it spread fast.

    And wtf no one is telling you to go bathe and wash up at work. Chill. This was history. The uncleanliness and the murder of cats for religious reasons helped it spread more Quickly. The ancient arabs and hebrews did stupid things. The ancient chinese did dumb things too. But i mentioned this because i was comparing the Muslims at the time of the ancient europeans. I’m nt prejudice, the europeans gave the world a lot, but the arab gave us numbers, mediterrnean food, poetry, bellydancing and music. But here we are getting called dirty and stinky sand niggers.

    Sorry, got a little bitter after the lady at the store kept taking my dove soap and putting it on a shelf. Supposedly i was so dirty even soap couldn’t clean me up. So excuse me if I seemed to shift the focus on some other race.

    I wasnt, actually, I don’t normally do that…but yes that did happen to me at the store.

  32. And its an expression. You use many appliances that are rom or made in different countries.

    And maybe you eat italian or meditrranean or thai food, all of which are AWEOME. Maybe you own some piece of thechnlogy thats chinese or japanese, you know i could keep going.

  33. elle,

    you can call the europeans dirty, their bathing habits, or lack thereof are notorious. especially the french. you appearently can’t find ice in europe, maybe they are running out of water? anyawys…”And wtf no one is telling you to go bathe and wash up at work.” when i said but don’t wash your feet in the sink, that was an allusion to elizabeth’s comments on the roller coaster article, perhaps you missed it but she got fired for washing her feet in the sink. i guess she thought god was telling her to.

    “but the arab gave us numbers”, yeah i always thought that too, seems how they are called arabic numerials. but turns out they are hindu in origin. brought to europe by the arabs thus the nomenclature. but yes the arabs have made advancement in mathematics as well as science. also during the dark ages of europe the islamic scholars saved much of europe’s knowledge from the destructive catholic church. while the catholics were charging galileo with heresy, muslims were advancing scientific theory. i even think some islamic sholar put forth a theory of evolution long before darwin.

    “And its an expression. You use many appliances that are rom or made in different countries.” lol…my chevy comment was meant as a joke. keep forgetting the jk, and that there is no voice inflection in typing. yes i get what you are saying i think. it’s an international world, and just as products move free throught it so do people. and that we are all interconnected and interdependent. that in modern times one would hope to see in increase in tolerance and understanding of cultural differences, not a lessening.

  34. Mike

    I thought about that part “washing your feet at work” and I remembered elizabeth’s comment but I figured, why’d he bbring that up? And she wasn’t washing her feet with soap and sticking her foot down the freaking drain. When we do wudu’ we have to wipe our feet from toes to ankles, like I said, CLEANLINESS IS HALF OF FAITH. See, we don’t have to put our feet in the sink, an easier and less messy way of doing it is propping your leg upwards and reach behind and rub your feet with water. I don’t see why people find it necessary to put their feet in the sink, but if they feel it’ll get their feet cleaner…whatever.

    That’s feasible I suppose. Yeah, it would make sense actually. Only two numbers in the Arabic numerals resemble the modern numbers we have now. One, which is just a line and five, which is a circle and that only resembles the zero so…Anyway, in Islam, God told us to keep seeking knowledge from the cradle (when your a child in school) to the grave (when your old and crotchety), so I guess you could say they were only doing their religious duties?
    By the way, Mike, Not all Muslims are Arab, the majority of them are African American or Indonesian. Arab only take up 18% of muslims… so when i say “Arab” don’t automatically infer to muslims

  35. […] which earlier on Sunday had been packed with worshippers for the Eid-al-Adha holiday, and draws a sizable crowd for Friday […]

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