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August 20, 2013

The One Million Muslim March On 9/11

million-muslim-march-september-11

Rabbi Alam and Brigitte Gabriel appear on Sean Hannity program

The American Muslim Political Action (AMPAC), an organization with a relatively insignificant presence among American Muslims, created a strong media reaction by announcing its intention to organize a “One Million Muslim March” to the U.S. Capitol on September 11, 2013. AMPAC was founded and is run by Mr. Rabbi Alam (“Rabbi” is his first name), an American war veteran originally from Bangladesh with a past record of making controversial and bigoted statements.

Several US media outlets and activists have highlighted some of Alam’s past anti-Semitic and conspiratorial remarks implying Jewish involvement in the 9/11 attacks. For example, in 2009 Alam posted a comment on Topix, a web-based forum, on the discussion topic “Was 9/11 a conspiracy?” He wrote “a big yes from my own understanding.” In the same post, Alam questioned why 9/11 was an “official holidy for all jewish people [who] worked in the WTC [sic]” and added “who can tell me how many of the Jewish people died on the 9/11 tragedy? [sic].”

AMPAC’s website also states, “The history of the Jewish-Zionist lobby AIPAC shows that it is more effective to be ‘radical’ and express one’s views strongly and honestly, than to be fearful and timid. The best defense is a good offense.”

Alam recently appeared on Fox News with Brigitte Gabriel, leader of  Act! for America, to discuss the march with Sean Hannity. The interview called into question his ability to organize a large event, and underscored his willingness to stir controversy. By his statements, he made it readily apparent why some anti-Muslim groups would find him a convenient example to cite in promoting their agenda.

To date, there is little evidence of support for the march from American Muslims.

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July 19, 2013

Christopher Wade Briggs, Would-be Gunman, Posts Picture Of Self In Front Of White House

Secret Service agents in Washington, D.C., arrested an armed man in Lafayette Park across from the White House on July 16.  The man, Christopher Wade Briggs of San Antonio, Texas, reportedly took a loaded handgun out of a backpack.  Briggs also had two additional magazines of ammunition, over 170 more rounds of ammo, and two hunting knives.christopher-briggs

According to court documents, Brigg told officers “I was only going to fire a couple of shots if no one confronted me.”   Officers charged him with carrying a pistol without a license, two counts of possession of prohibited weapons, and other related charges.

Briggs is a computer programmer who gravitated to right-wing causes and developed an antagonism towards Barack Obama, as expressed in a number of on-line postings.  These include a post on one Web site made earlier in 2013, in which he claimed to believe, “with all my heart, God has a plan for all the elected or appointed leaders, even Obama and Hitler.” 

Briggs operated a Twitter feed and, briefly, a small Web site, both dubbed Your Freedom News.  The Web site generally featured articles from a far right-wing position.  One article on the Web site (presumably by Briggs) claimed that every day the author woke up to see “some government official…subverting the Constitution of These United States” and asserted that the POTUS (President of the United States) “is purposely trying to destroy this country.”  In another article posted by Briggs but written by a relative named Walter Briggs with the title “Let the Caissons Roll!”, Walter Briggs asserted that Obama wanted to make it a criminal offense in the United States to be a Christian.

On July 14, Briggs posted a photograph to his Facebook profile of himself standing next to a life-size replica of Barack Obama (such as one might find at a wax museum), with a fist raised as if to strike the President.  When his mother expressed surprise at the photograph, Briggs responded, “Can I not take a vacation?”  On Tuesday, July 16, the day Briggs would be arrested, he posted another photograph of himself, this time standing with a backpack in front of the White House.  A Facebook friend asked Brigg if he were allowed there after “that last felony conviction,” but Briggs did not reply.

At some time before 5:00pm, Briggs made a last post to his Facebook profile, addressed to the “news media,” calling on them to leave his friends and family alone.  In an apparent reference to what was to come, Briggs stated that “[I] do this neither as a left winger or a right winger” and that he just could not live with himself any more.  He urged people to “come together as a nation and solve the issues” and “do what is best for this country.”

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November 19, 2012

“Israel should be Ended Once and For All,” “Crucify Him, Crucify Them…Israel’s Policy:” A Round-Up of Anti-Israel Protests in the U.S., November 17-18

Over the weekend, more than two dozen anti-Israel protests were held in cities across the United States. Below is a round-up of the extreme messages and signs that were on display at just a small sampling of these demonstrations.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17

New Haven, CT

Approximately two dozen protesters gathered outside the New Haven courthouse and then proceeded to march in downtown New Haven. An activist with the ANSWER Coalition addressed the crowd first and said, “We’re here to say to people that Israel should be ended once and for all.” She also advocated for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and encouraged the crowd to fight “U.S. imperialism.” Protesters engaged in chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!,” “Long live Intifada!,” and “Viva, Viva Palestina.” They held signs that read, “Resist Zionism and Imperialism” and “Israel – Guilty of war crimes.”

Fort Lauderdale, FL

About 150 people gathered outside the United States Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale holding signs that read “This isn’t war, this is genocide,” “Stop the new Holocaust,” and “Apartheid+occupation=Israel.” Other signs read “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust by Israel,” “If 9/11 deserves a moment of silence… Then Palestine deserves to never speak again,” and “The genocide goes on. Gaza needs your voice NOW.”

Activists at the rally chanted a variety of slogans including “Hey hey, ho ho, this occupation has gotta go!” “From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Gaza will never die! Free, free Gaza!” A participant at the protest wore a t-shirt that said “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust by Israel.”

Austin, TX

Activists demonstrated outside the Texas Capitol building for a rally called “Austin stands with Gaza.” Signs at the rally included “Israel is killing children in Gaza, stop U.S. complicity,” “Zionism is racism,” “Zionism is theft and anti-Semitic terror,” and “Stop Israeli terrorism!” In addition, a young child at the rally held a sign that said “Children like me are being killed with your tax dollars.”

Chants at the rally included “Netanyahu go to Hell, USA of Israel,” “Self-defense is a lie, what they do is genocide!” “The Palestinians are oppressed, boycott, sanctions, divest!” and “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls of have got to go.” The latest chant refers to an increased effort by anti-Israel activists to link the Palestinian struggle with immigrant issues in the U.S. and the U.S.-Mexico border fence.

San Francisco, CA

Approximately 100 protesters gathered outside the Israeli Consulate for the third straight day. Signs were held that said “Stop U.S.-Israeli genocide,” “Free Palestine, support the right of return,” and “Stop Israel’s slaughter in Gaza. Cut off all U.S. Aid.”

Following the demonstration outside of the Consulate, activists marched to Union Square chanting various slogans including “Long live the intifada, intifada, intifada,” “No peace, no state,” “While you’re shopping bombs are dropping,” and “not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes!”

 SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18

Washington, D.C.

Protesters gathered at the Israeli Embassy holding signs that read, “Obama Grow a Spine End the Genocide in Palestine! Quit Being Israel’s Puppet,” “G-d’s ‘Chosen People’ Guilty of War Crimes,” “Is Washington Under Israeli Occupation?” and “Crucify Him, Crucify Them…Israel’s Policy,” which seemed to suggest that Israel was responsible for Jesus’s death. Other signs that were printed by some of the anti-Israel organizations that coordinated the rally read, “Stop Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza” and “End the Siege on Gaza.”

Press TV, an English-language Iranian news station, interviewed some of the protesters who used extreme and inaccurate language to condemn Israel, including describing Gaza as a “land prison” and claiming that Israel “massacred thousands of civilians” in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.  

New York

Approximately 500 people demonstrators gathered in Times Square holding signs that read “Israel is a terrorist state” and “Judaism Yes! Zionism No! State of Israel Must Go.” The latter sign was held by a member of Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist organization that is a fixture at anti-Israel rallies in New York and Washington, D.C. A separate protester who was interviewed by FarsNews, an official Iranian agency, said that Israel is able to “get away with it” because of the U.S.: “America is the real terrorist state and as long as America unconditionally supports Israel, the blood of Palestinians will continue to be shed.”

San Diego

An anti-Israel protest to counter a pro-Israel event was organized by the Al-Awda chapter in San Diego. After the event ended, the leader of the group posted a message on Facebook thanking people for attending the protest. The  activist, Zahi Damuni, wrote that participants in the pro-Israel rally were a “lot of obnoxious racist people” and that the counter-protest “dampened the celebration of the carnage that their Zionist racist state is committing.” He also called for all of Palestine to be free “from the River to the Sea,” which is a call for the destruction of the state of Israel.

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