Pantano Stands With 9/11 Survivors and Christian Action Network To Oppose Ground Zero Mosque Imam
By Dan E. Way, The Herald Sun
CHAPEL HILL -- Calling Feisal Abdul Rauf an "imposter imam" who "would again victimize the families of 9/11" by building the Ground Zero mosque in Manhattan, retired New York City firefighter Tim Brown labeled the building a Muslim "victory tower" that should never be built at the site where nearly 3,000 people died.
Brown found a receptive audience for his comments at the Carolina Inn on Wednesday night, delivered as part of a free program offered by the Christian Action Network and ACT! for America.
About 60 people applauded in support of GOP U.S. Rep. Peter King's congressional hearings on Islamic radicalism. They jeered to express their scorn over Rauf's contention that the U.S. Constitution is Sharia law compliant. And they dabbed their eyes during the screening of the emotional documentary movie "Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mega-Mosque," which focused on families of 9/11 victims.
Brown, a decorated first responder whose fire unit colleagues perished in the World Trade Center rescue, said the radical Islamic terrorists who "smashed the planes into the buildings and killed nearly 3,000 innocent people ... have the same belief and same ideology as Imam Rauf, who is speaking across campus right now. They just have different ideas on how to impose that ideology in America, Sharia law.
"Imam Rauf says the United States Constitution is Sharia compliant. ..." Brown said. "They fell for that in England. They fell for that in France, and they fell for that in Germany, and all three of them now say multiculturalism is a failure."
Ilario Pantano, a Republican who failed in a bid last year to unseat longtime incumbent N.C. Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre, is a combat veteran of both the Gulf War and Iraq War, and said Rauf still declines to say where the $4.58 million came from to fund the Islamic center, but his ties to questionable Islamic organizations should be cause for investigation.
He criticized the Department of Homeland Security for holding hearings on things such as victimization on social networks, civil rights services and diversity in the Coast Guard instead of national security concerns such as radical Islam.
In praising King for the courage to hold hearings on the latter subject, Pantano elicited a burst of applause.
"I fought two wars for the freedom of religion," he said, "but not at the expense of my own freedom of speech" in speaking out against the Ground Zero mosque, stirring the crowd to another round of applause.
Gadi Adelman, a counter-terror expert, author and radio host who has studied terror and Islam for more than 35 years, said Rauf "has strong and unrefuted ties to the Muslim Brotherhood," a violence-prone Islamist political movement with paramilitary branches.
"It's not a question of whether he has the right [to build the Ground Zero mosque] but a question of what is right," Adelman said.
Kathy and Don Hatton, former Governor's Club residents now living in Cary, agreed with the speakers' assessments. Their nephew, New York City Fire Capt. Terry Hatton, perished during rescue operations at the World Trade Center. Terry Hatton and Brown were best friends.
"We're very opposed to it. We think it's very disrespectful," Kathy Hatton said of the Ground Zero mosque. "We're not opposed to a mosque being built, we're just opposed to where they want to put it."
"I have a hard time viewing it as bridge building between the communities," said Don Hatton. "It just seems like there's a lot of kid gloves tip-toeing around radical Islamists trying to stamp their beliefs on our society."