There was a venomous hatefest in the nation's capitol on Halloween night. It was hosted by Malik Zulu Shabazz of the militant New Black Panther Party. Deadly rhetorical spores of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism permeated the air for more than four hours.
But there has been no panic. No uproar. Nothing.
If this event had been an anti-Muslim rally, the story would be front-page news. Editorialists and academics would be decrying racial and religious intolerance. Left-wing celebrities and MTV veejays would be hectoring us about the need for unity and harmony. Politicians would be condemning the hatemongers as radical extremists who undermine the American way of life.
Instead, the Muslim marathon of malevolence I watched Wednesday night on C-SPAN-2 received absolutely no mainstream media criticism. In fact, it got no mainstream newspaper press coverage at all -- an especially ugly irony since it was held at the prestigious National Press Club in the heart of Washington, D.C. Where are all the dogged, brave-hearted members of the Beltway press corps when you need them to cover a war story in their very own lounge?
This was no ordinary forum of scholars, journalists and bureaucrats of the sort who normally show up at the National Press Club to rub elbows and nibble croissants. It was a super-charged, anti-American grievance session populated by Muslim crackpots and conspiracy theorists. The so-called town hall meeting in the spacious ballroom of the Press Club was "moderated" by Shabazz, a Howard University law school graduate and fanatical racist agitator who was once described admiringly by a Washington Post reporter as "tall and lean as a pine" with "the grace of an athlete."
He wore his usual garb -- a dark Goebbels-like uniform with patches and stripes, close-cropped hair and Malcolm X designer glasses. Surrounding him were peace-loving Muslims in black berets and paramilitary gear, who defiantly chanted "Black power!" on cue.
Shabazz defended Osama bin Laden, blamed President Bush for the 9-11 attacks, called our founding fathers "snakes" and likened them to terrorists, lambasted Catholicism, Christians and Jews, and repeated his avaricious call for societal reparations to blacks. This is old hat for Shabazz, who rose to power under ex-Nation of Islam exile Khalid Muhammad. Among Shabazz's resume highlights: stoking the recent Cincinnati race riots; organizing a legal support group for O.J. Simpson; leading a boycott of a D.C.-based Korean grocery store that was later firebombed; urging followers in Maryland to "crush" any "straw-chewin', tobacco-chewin' racist redneck" that assaults blacks; and threatening to kill whites and police officers if they interfered with his "Million Youth March" two years ago in New York.
"The only solution any time there is a funeral in the black community is a funeral in the police community," Shabazz told the marchers at the time.
Consumed by hate of law enforcement, not a single person at the Press Club forum had a shred of gratitude for the hundreds of mostly white cops and firemen who sacrificed their lives to save their fellow Americans of all colors and creeds on 9-11. Instead, panelists and audience members stewed about racial profiling, blamed whites for drug abuse in black communities, and practically danced on the graves of the victims of 9-11 terrorism with repeated references to "the chickens coming home to roost."
One audience member claimed that the hijackings, destruction and deaths were "nothing more than a Hollywood lie." An "imam" named Abdul Alim Musa agreed, assailing the "Zionists in Hollywood, the Zionists in New York, and the Zionists in D.C." who "all collaborate" to oppress blacks and Muslims. Another audience member refuted the politically correct notion that the Muslim religion is rooted in peace. After all, he noted, true followers believe that "Paradise is under the shade of our swords."
Co-hosting the Press Club forum was Mohammed Asi, an official of the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. -- where President Bush proclaimed that "Islam is peace" less than a week after the terrorist hijackings. Asi said and did nothing to quell the racist, anti-American terrorist sympathizers in the room.
Sept. 11 taught us that our greatest enemies lurk from within. Before the war, the Malik Shabazzes of the world were treated by the press as curious nuisances in funny costumes. It's long past time to call and condemn them for what they truly are: Treacherous threats.