I want our readers to know that Gates of Vienna beat all the MSM web outlets last night in posting the news story about the Charlotte Courthouse demonstration. We scooped the Richmond Times Dispatch by about half an hour. Plus we had photos!
But here’s a survey of the Real Journalism coverage of the event as of this morning. It ranges from mediocre to not so hot.
WSET TV (ABC 13) had the best account. They also used a copy of Gates of Vienna’s exclusive photo of the “Sheikh Gilani Lane” sign. But that’s OK; we let Christian Action Network borrow it; and the TV people can have it, too.
Group Protests Sheikh Gilani Lane Name
It wasn’t on Tuesday night’s agenda, but that didn’t stop protesters from getting across their opposition to Sheikh Gilani Lane. About two dozen protestors paraded around the county building.
Their chants included demands that the county rename the road, which is inside a Muslim community in Red House. The Christian Action Network organized the protest, because they say Sheikh Gilani a terrorist. Along with the protestors, there was another group in support of leaving the street sign up.
Nathalie Jones, Supports Sign — “I’m a Christian, and I believe in letting your neighbors make their choice about who they worship.”
Copeland Casati, Wants Sign Removed — “I think there’s a misconception that this is an attack on neighbors. This is not. It’s a concern about Sheikh Gilani.”
Haywood Hamlet, County Supervisor — “We see no need of changing it and opening the precedence of changing names all over the county.”
Despite the county’s stance on the issue, the Christian Action Network says they’ll keep fighting. They say they want to educate county residents about the situation, and say they may hold another protest in the future.
Copeland, by the way, is a young woman. You should see her on TV — she did an excellent job.
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Next is WDBJ TV (CBS 7):
Road bearing name of suspected terrorist sparks controversy
A road bearing the name of an international terrorist has sparked controversy in Charlotte County.
Sheikh Gilani Lane is an access road into the Muslims of the Americas community in Red House. It is a rural area of Charlotte County, about 15 miles south of Appomattox.
The U.S. government considers Gilani a terrorist. They believe he is responsible, in large part, for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Last week, Charlotte County Supervisors voted not to change the name of the road.
The Christian Action Network, out of Forest, is stepping up its pressure on the board to do something about the road’s name. They demonstrated in front of the county administration building Tuesday night. They chanted slogans and demanded the sign be removed.
However, the board did not address the issue again. Muslims in Red House tell us they are just trying to ignore the controversy and lead a normal life.
That’s not bad; it’s got the WTC bombing aspect in it, which you don’t hear much about.
Finally, the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Charlotte road’s name protested
Carrying signs and chanting as they marched, 20 people turned out last night for an hourlong protest over the name of a road they say honors a terrorist.
Repeating, “Remember our heroes and ground zero,” “It’s about time to remove the sign” and “V-A the American way,” the protesters marched around the Charlotte County administration building, waved their signs along the road and gathered on the lawn under a flagpole in front of the building.
The Forest-based Christian Action Network contends that Sheikh Gilani Lane, located in the Muslims of America enclave, was named after an international terrorist. The network has pushed to have the road sign removed.
Martin J. Mawyer, the group’s president, said he hopes the protest will raise public awareness and urge the county’s supervisors to change the name.
Established in the mid-1990s, the Muslim community sits on 44 acres in the western part of Charlotte County and is made up of mostly mobile homes. Sheikh Gilani Lane was named after Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarik Gilani, who founded the area and other similar sites in the United States. About 20 families were estimated to live at the Charlotte site a few years ago.
Opponents of the road name say the Muslims of America communities are hideouts for the al-Fuqra terrorist organization. They also blame Gilani for the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was reportedly on his way to interview Gilani when he was abducted Jan. 23, 2002, in Karachi.
But residents of the communities repeatedly have denied terrorist ties, insisting the areas are “a pure and safe environment for raising families and for worshipping the One Almighty Creator of all things.”
This month, the county supervisors declined to change the name of the road, citing their long-standing policy against changing road names. County rules allow residents to name their private lanes.
“As citizens of the United States, these individuals have the right to name the [road] whatever they want to,” Supervisor Joseph Carey said.
Mawyer said he will contact the national media about the issue. “It had been our hope that the Board of Supervisors would handle this without bringing national embarrassment to the state and the county,” he said.
The Christian Action Network is a nonprofit lobbying organization that says it is dedicated to protecting traditions of the American family and defending the nation against radical Islam.
The Rev. Sam Weddington, who lives in the county, said last night’s protest makes Muslim residents feel they are not welcomed.
“They are good people,” he said.
Sam Weddington, by the way, is probably the Presbyterian minister I mentioned in my last post. I never got his name.
The tone of this story is not bad; it just has a major factual error. CAN doesn’t blame Sheikh Gilani for Daniel Pearl’s abduction; they just cite his probable involvement in the betrayal of Mr. Pearl to his murderers.
My best guess is this: Sheikh Gilani had arranged through intermediaries to meet Daniel Pearl for an interview. He needed a favor from the group that kidnapped Mr. Pearl, or maybe he needed to ease the tensions of inter-group rivalry. So he traded in his bit of information about where to find his would-be interviewer, and when. And that was it for Daniel Pearl.
It would defy common sense, given the Sheikh’s notorious history, to assert that he had no involvement whatsoever with the abduction of Daniel Pearl. But there’s no way to tell exactly what his rôle was.