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An Ill Wind By: Phyllis Chesler
Chesler Chronicles - Pajamas Media | Tuesday, October 14, 2008


On my way to Penn Station on Friday afternoon, (on West 29th St. to be precise), there seemed to be some kind of demonstration going on. When we got closer we saw that it was a large Islamic prayer service which had spilled out onto the sidewalk and into the gutter. It was mainly a mass of prostrated men but women in hijab walked nearby. The driver, a silver-haired man of Greek and Bulgarian background, launched a non-stop monologue.

“I wouldn’t mind it if they came here to become Americans like I did. But no, they hate America. They want to stay the way they are but they want to take over America. You ought to see it in Astoria, Queens! Far bigger than this. You know why they’re on the sidewalk and in the street? Because they are really protesting not having larger and larger mosques.”

Well, their prayer service, (and it was that), did somehow seem like a protest. There was an aggressive rather than a humbled feeling in the air, more anger than love, a separatism but one right in-your-face.

Upon my return, several brave members of the LiberalHawks listserv group, including Pamela Gellar of Atlas Shrugs, were discussing the Muslim Day Parade. I watched a very disturbing Video and read personal accounts of what happened at yesterday’s parade. Unlike the Hispanic Day Parade, which also took place yesterday, the Muslim Day parade was aggressive, angry, confrontational, and did not seem very happy or joyful. No one was celebrating Islam’s many cultures and ethnicities. One sign read “Home of the Free Shari’a Movement.”

A number of super-angry bearded men tried to charge a small group of women who were holding signs which read “We Will Not Submit.” The men called one woman: “A fu–ing bitch,” “You whore,” “Your Talmud says you can rape a three year old,” “You baby murderer,” “The Jews kill little children,” “Rothschild was a Zionist,” (!). The background was a continuous roar of “Allahu-Akbar.”

One woman, a member of the LiberalHawks listserv group, was threatened by a Muslim man. He threatened to “rape her fifty times.” He, and several other men, walked right through the barrier that had been erected to separate the two groups. Muslim parade marchers also photographed the protestors–a method of intimidation, a threat that they are being watched and might be stalked or worse. The police ended up having to protect the small band of protestors. In my time, it was the police who photographed the demonstrators, the demonstrators and counter-demonstrators did not photograph each other (unless they were FBI or CIA agents disguised as demonstrators or protesters).

Perhaps perfectly peaceful Muslims are paranoid about not being allowed to pray in the public square and are therefore aggressive about it. Perhaps their leaders want to claim public, secular space as Islamist religious space–just as they’ve enjoyed it in the Old Country. Perhaps Muslims who really want to pray have only seen Muslims marching in anger or even rioting in public and believe that this is what Muslims “do.”

This is an ill wind and it’s blowin’ right here in Manhattan and Brooklyn and Queens. The March for McCain on Manhattan’s upper west side elicited a solid, ugly wall of hoots, jeers, boos and rage. When I asked some liberal friends of mine to view it, they were non-plussed. Indeed, they said that the hoots and jeers were proof of a flourishing First Amendment. “The marchers can march and we can express our views of their views.”

When I and others had to be protected by police officers when we spoke on campus about Islamic gender and religious apartheid and about Islamic imperialism and pro-slavery views, many of the students looked and acted a lot like the upper westsiders–but that too was defended as the First Amendment in action. I have been a radical feminist for most of my life and have always voted Democratic. I voted for Bush once and reaped the whirlwind. However, I have not seen conservative students boo, jeer, and move menacingly against speakers who opposed the military, the War, etc. Have you? They just seem to wear their bow-ties and behave in civilized ways. Why? (Needless to say, I do not agree with many items on the conservative and Republican agenda but I do appreciate their civility in these times).

The Muslim Day parade in Manhattan seems to be another example of the First Amendment and freedom of religion being used to censor other views in an ugly and threatening way.

I am afraid for our country. There seems to be an escalation, an acceleration of Islamist aggression in many of our cities, and not just via prayer-protest but also via lawsuit. Even now, the United Nations is preparing a truly racist document against the Jews, (Durban II), and yet it’s being promoted as an “anti-racist’ document. Why is the mainstream media so silent about all this? Why are the intelligentsia silent, why do they once again make common cause with totalitarians and fascists? What will it take to connect the dots?


Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) The New Anti-Semitism (2003) and The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (2005). She has just published a new edition of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman (2009). She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1976). Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.


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