After a slow discussion about a new theatre project, the board moved to the main event. I struggled to hear the speakers over the shouts of Pamela Geller, who manages the conservative blog Atlas Shrugs. She was sitting a few rows behind me with some sign-carriers who looked like they lived outside the neighborhood, and whenever a speaker from the Coroda Project [sic] spoke, shouts of “Fifth column!” and “No more Shariah!” erupted behind me.And it goes on. I'm accustomed to seeing this kind of behavior from Muslim protesters in YouTube clips; guess they don't have a monopoly.
Judging by the crowd’s reaction, the Cordoba Initiative may have scored a major victory without lifting a finger. Instead of guns, the right-wingers seemed to have brought “weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men,” as the “Twilight Zone” episode “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” puts it. Listening to conspiracy theories about Muslims wanting to destroy democracy, I wondered whether I was an insane person in a reasonable world or if the whole world had gone crazy.
The protesters did not seem interested in empathy, though. When I heard one of them sound a shofar as a rallying cry, I asked why he chose a symbol of Jewish heritage to energize his cause.
“Well, I’m Christian so it’s my heritage now and I don’t care if Jews are insulted,” he replied.
“You lost that right when you rejected God,” his friend said. “It’s my religious heritage now, so why should I care what you think? Besides, Jews constantly don’t see what’s in front of them. They should have left Nazi Germany and gone to America. We’re a Christian nation.”
Friday, June 18, 2010
How not to protest the Cordoba Initiative
Elle Mikulincer-Weiss, Fifth Column at the Town Hall: