This year is the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in American history. Many somber commemorative events are planned, including one at Ground Zero at which the long-awaited memorial will open. Others will try to bring healing through art or encourage participation in a national day of service in honor of the nearly 3,000 people who perished. Several will hold memorial services or engage in some other charitable event to remember and honor those who died and to support those who lost loved ones in the attack.
And there are those who are not so charitable, people and groups who plan film screenings and rallies to bash Muslims and warn of the "Islamic threat" that is supposedly intent on trampling the Constitution and establishing a Shariah-guided caliphate in its place. Anti-Islamic hysteria has increased dramatically in the past two years, and its purveyors have managed to convince many others that an estimated 0.6% of the U.S. population is hell-bent on destroying American society and culture. The 10th anniversary provides these Islamophobes a sterling opportunity to draw attention to their bigoted views. Among their plans:
- Pam Geller, director of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and perhaps the reigning queen of Islam-bashing, has scheduled her second annual freedom rally on 9/11. At her blog, Atlas Shrugs, she says it's a rally for "our war dead" and a protest of "the 15-story mega mosque going up on Ground Zero" (the Park51 Mosque is actually planned for a site two blocks away from Ground Zero, but facts don't get in the way of a good Geller rant). Geller also claims that the rally is in support of St. Nicholas Church, a Greek Orthodox church that was destroyed by debris from the collapsing towers. Geller claims Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, kowtowed to Muslims and chose to support Park51 rather than the rebuilding of St. Nicholas. The church's reconstruction has been in conflict because of difficulties over land.
- Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones will hold public meetings on Sept. 7 in Dearborn, Mich., the city with the highest concentration of Arab Muslims in the country. No word on where those meetings will be held or what specifically they'll address. The next day, Sept. 8, Jones is scheduled to appear in court with regard to the ruling by Dearborn District Court Judge Mark Somers, who jailed Jones and his fellow pastor Wayne Sapp on April 22 for refusing to pay a $1 peace bond. Jones and Sapp attempted to stage a Good Friday protest outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.
- Terry Jones will then head to New York City, where he claims he and Sapp will "point out the multiple dangers of the Quran" and talk about radical Islam on Sept. 10. Jones has not released the location of this event.
- Gary Cass, a minister with DefendChristians.org, a ministry of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC), is planning an "outreach" to "strategic high schools located near mosques with known links to terrorism." The Christians involved in this action will be handing out literature "that tells students the truth about Islam and Mohammad and their violent, and oppressive policies towards non-Muslims, especially women and blacks." The mission of DefendChristians.org is to "champion Christian religious liberty" and provide a first line of response to "anti-Christian defamation, bigotry, and discrimination." Cass foresees the 9/11 event as the kickoff to a year-long campaign that targets communities with "the most radical Mosques."
- The Christian Action Network (CAN), based in Virginia, is planning four screenings of its latest anti-Islam film, "Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mega-Mosque." CAN claims that it planned the screenings to give 9/11 survivors and victims' family members to "tell their stories through the film." The film's purpose is to make a case against the "Ground Zero Mosque." The screenings didn't come without controversy. CAN will be showing the films in public parks, but the group was initially denied permission by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation because, according to an article in Charisma News, officials were concerned about the documentary's content and viewpoint. CAN has planned four separate showings in New York City parks beginning Sept. 7 and ending Sept. 13. The organization released its first anti-Islam film in 2009. "Homegrown Jihad" alleged that radical Muslims had built secret compounds all over the U.S. for paramilitary training.
CAN is also working with U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who will be hosting a screening of CAN's film in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 7, after meeting with 9/11 family members. West has attracted attention for a variety of anti-Muslim statements. He has suggested that there are terrorist-run "training camps” inside the US and that terrorists are infiltrating the military and "brainwashing" soldiers. In West's view, Islam is not a religion, but rather a “theo-political belief system and construct” that must be destroyed.