Close, But No Cigar

June 11th, 2010

By Brianna Aubin

Last weekend on the anniversary of D-Day, there was a protest in NYC against plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero.

Of course there were the usual slurs and foolish statements by the mainstream media.  The protest organizers gave attendance estimates of 5,000 to 10,000.  The MSM gave estimates of 500 to 1,000.  People of all colors and faiths, including some Muslims who were against the mosque, attended the protests.  The MSM is painting the protest as an expression of racial hatred.

But there was an incident at the protest, immediately seized upon by an excited Keith Olbermann who thought he’d finally found his Tea Party racism, that should be cleared up immediately.

Two Egyptian immigrants, Coptic Christians, had apparently flown in from CA to protest the mosque.  However, a few of the protesters mistook them for Muslim infiltrators because they were speaking Arabic and handing out material containing Quran verses.  As reported at a site called, things apparently got a little ugly:

At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.

“Go home,” several shouted from the crowd.

“Get out,” others shouted.

In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called “The Way.” Both said they had come to protest the mosque.

“I’m a Christian,” Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.

But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.

“I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here,” a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.

Sounds awful, right?

Well, unfortunately it did happen, and it shouldn’t have.  While the protestors’ misidentification was understandable in the circumstances, as the men in question were speaking in the language of the Quran and distributing Quran verses, their behavior absolutely was not.  However, this being the MSM version of events, I had my doubts that this was the only side to the story.  Apparently, so did Right Wing News, which decided to do a little digging.

Right Wing News blogger John Hawkins called up Mr. Nassralla, and asked him about the incident.  Mr. Nassralla replied that yes, unfortunately it was true.  He also told him that while he naturally wasn’t happy about the way he’d been treated by the protesters, he was “mostly chagrined that there had been a misunderstanding.”  When asked what he thought of the mosque, he said:

I think they want to build the Mosque right there to slap Americans in the face. It’s their way to show a victory for Islam. They knocked the towers down and they’re building an Islamic center in the same place to show they’re powerful.

He also said that protest co-organizer Robert Spencer, who maintains the site JihadWatch, personally called him to apologize for the incident and that he would be happy to speak at another rally if Spencer or Spencer’s co-organizer Pamela Geller, who maintains the AtlasShrugs website, would be willing to arrange it.  So Mr. Hawkins went to call up Pamela Geller.  According to Hawkins:

She told me that she was surprised that there had been a problem and noted that there were other Coptic Christians at the rally and even a few Muslims and none of them had any problems. She also noted that it was a big rally, that she regretted there was a problem, and she added,

“If I knew that was going on, I would have said something. If I had the numbers of the people shouting at them, I would call them right now and rip them a new one.”

Incidentally, if you know Pamela, you know that’s not just idle chatter. She means it.

She also said she’d be quite happy to arrange for Mr. Nassralla to speak at the next protest, though I sincerely doubt Keith Olbermann would be interested in covering that little bit of conservative protest news.

Finally, Mr. Nassralla wrote a letter which was co-addressed to Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller, who each posted the letter on their respective websites:

Dear Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer,

I am Joseph Nassralla, a Coptic Christian activist from Egypt and founder of The Way TV, a Christian Satellite TV station.

I attended the 10,000 person protest rally against the building to the ground zero mosque which took place at ground zero in NY on Sunday June 6th. We Coptic Christians wanted to express our  full support to your initiative and to this important rally.

There was a minor incident at the rally that was blown out of proportion, when my partner , Mr. Karam El Masry, and I were distributing material with some Quran verses and we were also speaking Arabic thus we were mistaken by a few people in the huge crown, for being Muslims infiltrators trying to disrupt the event.  This misunderstanding was clarified when we explained who we were and that we are there to support the crowd against the building of the mosque. I was a little frustrated initially for being identified as a Muslim infiltrator, but was glad that the issue was resolved later. My partner, Mr. El Masry, was even able to freely speak to the crowd after our identity was clarified. He explained how Christians are tortured, killed and oppressed in Egypt at the hands of Muslims who are encouraged to persecute Christians from the pulpit of mosques by Muslim preachers.

The reason I am writing to you, is because I am very disappointed in the mainstream media who used this minor incident to make a blanket generalization about all the attendees of the rally as Muslim haters.This kind of generalization was unfair to the good American people who legitimately stand against the building of a mosque next to ground zero and who are against Islamist agenda in the US. I am very well aware of such an agenda which has destroyed the Christian and Jewish existence in the Middle East.

The same mainstream media who denounces painting all Muslims with a broad brush, is doing the same thing they claim to stand against. They shamelessly use our incident to paint with a broad brush that everyone in the rally was a Muslim hater. I want to make it clear that we are not haters of Muslims, but we are against the Islamist agenda in America, the same agenda that drove us out of our homeland Egypt. We have the right to expose Muslim hate and oppression against us, the minorities in the Middle East who are oppressed on a daily basis by the Muslim majority. This mosque should ever be built next to ground zero, it is an insult to the memory of the 3000 fellow Americans.

We did not mean to cause any misunderstanding at the rally, on the contrary, we came to support you and your organization. We come from a Muslim country where we suffered from Muslims and the Islamic Shariaa ourselves. That’s why we felt burdened to attend this rally and flew for 9 hours to be part of it. We do support you with our heart and soul, and will always support you and everyone who is opposing Islam. We do honor Mr. Robert’s invitation to attend your next rally in September, God’s willing, and are looking forward to seeing you there.

We have come to America to seek refuge from the oppression of Islam and expose to the American public what kind of instigation we suffered at the hands of hateful Muslim preachers who incite the worshiping crowds to burn our homes, kidnap our girls and suppress our freedom to practice our religion. We will never allow media misrepresentation to stop us from our mission.

Yours truly,

Joseph Nassralla

So sorry Mr. Olbermann.  I know you were probably really excited that you’d finally found your example of evil conservative bigotry, but apparently the only thing you really stumbled onto was a case of friendly fire.  Better luck next time.

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3 Responses to “Close, But No Cigar”

  1. Tom Carter |

    Interesting, and I think you’re right that Olbermann won’t give the same amount of attention (if any) to the real story.

    One thing, though — because some at the demonstration thought these people were Muslims and therefore attempted to shout them down, prevent them from speaking, and force them to leave, doesn’t that kind of make the point that there’s at least some intolerance involved? I know it would work the same way (or worse) in reverse, if lefties were demonstrating and some perceived righties showed up and tried to speak their piece.

    Refusing to respect others’ right to speak and express different ideas is a valid indictment of anyone who’s guilty of it, even if their intolerance is based on a misperception.

  2. Brianna |

    “Refusing to respect others’ right to speak and express different ideas is a valid indictment of anyone who’s guilty of it, even if their intolerance is based on a misperception.”

    I only said the misidentification was understandable and not based on race. I never condoned their behavior.

    I do not very much like counter-protesters. Quite aside from the fact that on a certain level they are risking their necks, I think there is something unsporting about going to a place where you know a specific view is going to be espoused, only to deliberately irritate people by expressing your opposing view. Admittedly this can be viewed as hypocritical, because when a conservative or libertarian counterprotester infiltrates a liberal protest, I tend not to hold such negative views of their actions because I consider the libertarian or conservative to be in the right and the liberal to be in the wrong (usually), and I acknowledge that for the liberal side the same belief holds true for them. But since I do not condone attempting to harm or harass the liberal protester at the conservative/libertarian protest, I don’t think my personal views of who is in the right or who is in the wrong are such a huge deal.

    My basic rule in such situations is “Do not touch or harass.” And I do enforce it.

  3. Brianna |

    For that matter, I’m not terribly tolerant of Islam myself. Tolerance is a two-way street, and I have no evidence that they have any interest in traveling on it. So if they’re not willing to do it, why should I?

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