Remember when Muslims took to the streets of New York to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks? No? Well, Jason and David Benham remember that totally real 9/11 celebration and were in fact American heroes who traveled to New York just to put a stop to it.
The Benham brothers recently recounted their brave heroism in an interview with WorldNetDaily, the conspiracy theory outlet that publishes their weekly column, while promoting WND’s annual 9/11 Day of Prayer.
David Benham told WND that “on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Jason and I went to New York City and I remember watching radical Muslims marching through our streets screaming, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ and I stepped into the middle of the street and I began to proclaim the gospel and let them know that that stuff is not welcome in our nation.”
In fact, Jason Benham said, this brave stand against a pro-9/11 rally got the Benhams labeled “anti-Muslim” by us here at Right Wing Watch! “That is one of the things that Right Wing Watch had pulled out, some comments that he made during that celebration where they were saying, ‘Allah conquers everything,’ and David stood up and boldly proclaimed, ‘No he does not,’ and that’s how we got the label that we are anti-Muslim,” Jason said.
David added: “We’re not anti-Muslim, we love individuals and especially peace-loving Muslims, but I am anti-any idea that would seek to take our freedoms away and take the lives of innocent people, especially anybody that would want to silence biblical Christianity.”
In our report on the Benhams’ right-wing activism, activism which they at first strenuously denied in the midst of the controversy surrounding their planned HGTV show, we excerpted a single paragraph from a report published by the Anti-Defamation League about David Benham’s involvement in an anti-Muslim demonstration organized by Operation Save America, the far-right group run by David and Jason’s father Flip Benham:
David Benham, Flip Benham’s son and an OSA spokesman, called the Islamic center a “den of iniquity,” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking” America. Benham, portraying the United States as a Christian nation, also drew this distinction: “The difference between Islam and Christianity: Islam takes life and enslaves it. Christianity lays its life down and sets you free.” The day prior to the demonstration, OSA released a statement asserting that [it] seeks to convert Muslims who are “enslaved in the tyrannical bondage of Islam” to Christianity.
The demonstration that the Benhams were participating in was not a 9/11 celebration. Instead, it was a protest of plans to build an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque” by anti-Muslim activists. (The community center’s detractors neglected to mention that a Muslim prayer room existed in the south tower of the World Trade Center and there was already a mosque four blocks away from the site.)
The ADL report continues:
Since Spring 2010, OSA has exploited the controversy surrounding the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero by renewing their efforts to demonize Islam. On the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, several OSA leaders organized a protest in downtown Manhattan against the Islamic center. At the protest, held the same day as the rally organized by Stop the Islamization of America, Reverend Rusty Lee Thomas, assistant director of the OSA, said that the religion of Islam was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. “[The center] is a dagger in the heart of our nation by a religion that killed 3000 of our citizens on September 11, 2001,” he said.
Thomas also asked rhetorically, “But why are mosques springing up all over the United States of America? Why are Muslims coming in droves, buying us up and buying us out? Why were we blissfully ignorant of Islam on September 11, 2001, and now there is not a day under the Obama administration we are not being inundated with Islamic indoctrination?”
Ante Pavkovic, described by OSA as its regional director in Charlotte, North Carolina, told rally participants: “How is it…that they are on the verge of building a mosque and insulting us, and offending us, and trampling on the all those that died. Why is Islam gaining in our nation? Why are our leaders assenting to, appealing to, and appeasing the Muslims? Well, we know why. We as a nation have departed from our god.”
David Benham, Flip Benham’s son and an OSA spokesman, called the Islamic center a “den of iniquity,” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking” America. Benham, portraying the United States as a Christian nation, also drew this distinction: “The difference between Islam and Christianity: Islam takes life and enslaves it. Christianity lays its life down and sets you free.” The day prior to the demonstration, OSA released a statement asserting that seeks to convert Muslims who are “enslaved in the tyrannical bondage of Islam” to Christianity.
OSA has been protesting at mosques and harassing Muslim worshippers since 2001, when the group described Islam on its Web site as a “false religion, birthed from the very pit of hell [that] has led to the eternal damnation of billions of precious people.” For years, Flip Benham and his supporters approached Muslims outside their houses of worship to communicate that “Islam and Christianity cannot peacefully coexist. They are at war,” according to OSA’s Web site.
Such messages were delivered by the group on August 6, 2010, when Reverend Benham and other OSA activists harassed worshippers after Friday prayers outside Masjid An-Noor in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Activists reportedly shouted at worshippers leaving and entering the mosque that “Jesus hates Muslims” and “Islam is a lie.”
A few weeks later, OSA activist Pastor Mark Holick was arrested in Wichita, Kansas, after refusing to move his protest against the Islamic Center of Wichita to a location designated by police. Holick reportedly tried to disseminate OSA “Gospel tracts,” described later by media as “anti-Muslim DVDs,” to individuals on their way to the mosque.