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The family that dared

world Updated: Sep 13, 2010 00:00 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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In the end, they just argued and screamed, called people names and went home.

No one was hurt. But on Saturday, the area around Ground Zero was the most difficult place to be in for a Muslim.

Anas Elbery, a Muslim architect and a father of four, waited and debated all day. He had brought his family from New Jersey to pay respects at Ground Zero and show Americans that he was an American too.

Mark from Pennsylvania – no surname — was walking around the Broadway with a poster on his chest threatening to do things with the Koran that could make the Florida pastor Terry Jones look like an angel.

Neb Smith, who came from UK, said, “just to be with our American brothers and sisters and prevent the mosque from coming up here – they want it as a symbol of victory of Islam over Christianity”.

Elbery said he and his family decided they had to walk down the street, no matter what. “If we had stayed home, this anti-Muslim thing will get greater.”

So the Elberys stepped out. Their youngest in a baby-walker and the rest on foot. Wife Rasha, a teacher, wore a traditional Muslim dress, without the veil, and their daughter and son — in a prayer cap — had US flags around them.

As they walked down the road slowly but gingerly, without exchanging a word among themselves, crowds on either side of the road waiting for an anti-mosque protest rally to start, watched them quietly.

This was an angry crowd, determined to stop the mosque from being built, at any cost.

No one said a word. No one quite understood the Elberys were not going anywhere. No one did anything.

“And that’s what it is about this country that makes it

so great...back in Egypt we could have been stabbed orstoned in a similar situation,”Anes said. Their point: This is their country too.

2 protesters killed

Kabul: Two protesters were shot and killed in Afghanistan’s east on Sunday, a district government official said, during angry demonstrations staged even though a US pastor abandoned plans to burn copies of Quran.

The two who died were among seven wounded during clashes with Afghan security forces who tried to disperse protesters.

Reuters