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Dueling demonstrations follow 9/11 memorial

September 11, 2010 8:51:37 PM PDT
A crowd in New York City protested an Islamic center proposed near ground zero with chants of "USA, USA."

"No mosque here! No mosque here!" demonstrators yelled.

It was a far cry from the silent remembrance on September 11th.

"Bigots go home! Leave Muslims alone!" another demonstrator yelled.

Protestors on both sides of the heated mosque issue shouted at each other from opposing demonstrations near ground zero.

They began just moments after the 9/11 ceremonies ended.

"We say no to racist fear, Muslims are welcome here!" the demonstrators shouted.

Those who defend the right to build a new mosque just two blocks from ground zero insisted that those against it were using September 11th to promote Islamaphobia.

"I think it's actually disrespectful of them to use this day to promote this fear, this hatred," said Tahir Hameed, of the NYC Coalition to Stop Islamaphobia.

Try telling that to the families of those who died on September 11th, 9 years ago.

"And we don't want their representation here, at ground zero, where they murdered 3,000 American people here," said Jose Vasquez, an anti-mosque demonstrator.

Or, to those who barely survived, like a retired firefighter Eyewitness News spoke to.

"Ground zero is a cemetery, OK, now, to have this, where's the respect here?" said Loui Cacchioli, a September 11th survivor.

In between both protests is Park Place, which is the actual site for the proposed mosque, but it was blocked by police all day because the situation is so volatile.

It's something Mayors Bloomberg and Giuliani don't agree on.

They both spoke.

"The government shouldn't be telling you, build, or don't build," Mayor Bloomberg said.

"Move it someplace else. I mean, if you are a man of God, why confront? Why not conciliate? This is a confrontation," Former NYC Mayor Giuliani said.

The confrontation made its way to Lower Manhattan on September 11th with extremists from both sides.

"As far as it is our constitutional right to burn a Koran, to display it, as I am, without being threatened," said a demonstrator.

Most of the demonstrators were escorted out of harms way, by police.

September 11th proved just how divisive this situation has become.


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