Talking With Joseph Nassralla: The Man Police Escorted From The Ground Zero Mosque Protest

by John Hawkins | June 10, 2010 9:47 am

Last week-end, Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch[1] and my friend Pamela Geller from Atlas Shrugs[2] helped organize a roughly 10,000 person strong protest[3] against the mega-mosque that’s being built at Ground Zero. This is a noble cause and Pamela, Robert, and the other people at Stop Islamization of America[4] who are fighting the good fight against this mosque deserve your support.

It’s worth noting that this is an even bigger issue than most realize because of Islam’s cultural traditions. As Andrew Mellon correctly noted at Big Government[5], “Muslims have been building mosques for centuries as symbols of conquest and dominance, and this one in particular will mark the first to stand on US soil.” If this mosque is built, Jihadis across the globe will treat it as the most significant victory for radical Islam and Al-Qaeda since 9/11. Is that really a message that New York of all places should want to send?

That being said, there was an unfortunate event that marred the Ground Zero protest on Sunday and it has gotten a lot of attention. Here’s the story as it appeared at North[6],

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[7]
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.

I wrote about this yesterday[8] and quite naturally condemned that behavior in the strongest terms. Later during the day as I was doing my friend Jaz McKay’s radio show[9], we discussed the issue and he wondered if the story was true. After all, some of the reporting on conservative protests over the last couple of years has been flat out inaccurate. That seemed to be a fair point, so I decided to follow-up on the story.

After doing some footwork, I managed to track down Joseph Nassralla[7]. He’s a Coptic Christian who emigrated here from Egypt. He also runs The Way[10], a Christian satellite TV station.

Right off the bat, I asked him if the description of the incident given by North[6] was accurate.

Regrettably, he said that it was. He said that they were talking to people back at the studio in Arabic, some people in the crowd overheard, thought they were Muslim infiltrators who were there to disrupt the event, and became increasingly hostile despite their attempts to explain. At one point, Joseph Nassralla[7] told me he was shoved and his camera was knocked out of his hand. He said he was worried that things might have really gotten out of hand if the police hadn’t escorted him and Karam El Masry away.

Although the whole incident isn’t on camera, Joseph Nassralla[7] was kind enough to provide some footage from the rally. This video shows Joseph Nassralla[7] and Karam El Masry being escorted out of the crowd by the police. That’s followed by El Masry giving an inspired speech about the mosque to a small group of people on the periphery of the rally.

This video features Joseph Nassralla[7] and Pastor Sami Masry speaking on the edge of the rally about what a terrible idea: :  it:  is to build a mosque at Ground Zero,

Joseph Nassralla[7] told me he’d been persecuted for his faith in Egypt. He said eight of his Christian friends had actually been killed. When I asked him why he thought they wanted to build the mosque on that spot, he told me,

I think they want to build the Mosque right there to slap Americans in the face. It’s their way to show a victory for Islam. They knocked the towers down and they’re building an Islamic center in the same place to show they’re powerful.

From there, we talked a bit more about the rally. Although he wasn’t happy about the way he was treated, Mr. Nassralla seemed mainly to be chagrined that there had been such a misunderstanding. He also noted that after hearing about the incident, Robert Spencer[11] personally phoned him to apologize for what had happened.

Moreover, he added that he would have liked to have spoken at the rally, but it didn’t happen. So, I asked him, “If Robert or Pamela could arrange for you to speak at the next rally, would you be willing to fly in from California to do it?” He responded,

Yes, I would. I love America. In Egypt, I couldn’t speak out. They would kill me.

After I finished my conversation with Joseph Nassralla[7], I got in touch with Pamela Geller[12] to see what she had to say about the incident.

She told me that she was surprised that there had been:  a:  problem and noted that there were other Coptic Christians at the rally and even a few Muslims and none of them had any problems. She also noted that it was a big rally, that she regretted there was a problem, and she added,

“If I knew that was going on, I would have said something. If I had the numbers of the people shouting at them, I would call them right now and rip them a new one.”

Incidentally, if you know Pamela, you know that’s not just idle chatter. She means it.

I also informed Pamela about my conversation with Joseph Nassralla[7] and his affirmative response to my question about speaking at the next rally against the Ground Zero mosque. Her response?

I would absolutely love to have him speak at the next protest.

So, you heard it here first, folks. Joseph Nassralla[7] will be speaking at the next Ground Zero Mosque protest and my guess is that the people who’ve been using him to attack the people fighting the mosque probably won’t like him as much after they hear what he has to say from the stage.

Update #1: Joseph Nassralla has released a statement that’s been published on Atlas Shrugs[13]. His statement generally lines up with what he told me, although it seems a bit tamer,

There was a minor incident at the rally that was blown out of proportion, when my partner , Mr. Karam El Masry, and I were distributing material with some Quran verses and we were also speaking Arabic thus we were mistaken by a few people in the huge crown, for being Muslims infiltrators trying to disrupt the event. This misunderstanding was clarified when we explained who we were and that we are there to support the crowd against the building of the mosque. I was a little frustrated initially for being identified as a Muslim infiltrator, but was glad that the issue was resolved later. My partner, Mr. El Masry, was even able to freely speak to the crowd after our identity was clarified. He explained how Christians are tortured, killed and oppressed in Egypt at the hands of Muslims who are encouraged to persecute Christians from the pulpit of mosques by Muslim preachers.

The reason I am writing to you, is because I am very disappointed in the mainstream media who used this minor incident to make a blanket generalization about all the attendees of the rally as Muslim haters.This kind of generalization was unfair to the good American people who legitimately stand against the building of a mosque next to ground zero and who are against Islamist agenda in the US. I am very well aware of such an agenda which has destroyed the Christian and Jewish existence in the Middle East.

The same mainstream media who denounces painting all Muslims with a broad brush, is doing the same thing they claim to stand against. They shamelessly use our incident to paint with a broad brush that everyone in the rally was a Muslim hater. I want to make it clear that we are not haters of Muslims, but we are against the Islamist agenda in America, the same agenda that drove us out of our homeland Egypt. We have the right to expose Muslim hate and oppression against us, the minorities in the Middle East who are oppressed on a daily basis by the Muslim majority. This mosque should never be built next to ground zero, it is an insult to the memory of the 3000 fellow Americans.

I’m glad to see that this whole thing has been cleared up because it’s a distraction from the real issue, which is the construction of a mega-mosque at Ground Zero.

  1. Jihad Watch:
  2. Atlas Shrugs:
  3. 10,000 person strong protest:
  4. Stop Islamization of America:
  5. Big Government:
  6. North
  7. Joseph Nassralla:
  8. wrote about this yesterday:
  9. Jaz McKay’s radio show:
  10. The Way:
  11. Robert Spencer:
  12. Pamela Geller:
  13. Atlas Shrugs:

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