As you may know, many on the right are upset that a mosque is being built within a couple of blocks of Ground Zero in downtown Manhattan. The thinking goes that Islamic terrorists were responsible for 9/11, therefore all of the religion of Islam is bad and evil, therefore mosques are evil.
With such stupid logic as that, it's not hard to understand that it might go one step further, and that the mosque-opposers (largely of the Tea Party movement) would let their racial and ignorant side show through. Which it did, at a recent Ground Zero protest of the porposed mosque:
At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.
"Go home," several shouted from the crowd.
"Get out," others shouted.
In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called "The Way." Both said they had come to protest the mosque.
"I'm a Christian," Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.
But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.
"I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here," a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.
The incident underscores how contentious — and, perhaps, how irrational — the debate over the mosque has become.