March 21, 1993|By New York Times News Service.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — More than 1,000 Muslims, according to police estimates, gathered outside a mosque Saturday to protest what they said was unfair news coverage of the investigation into the Feb. 26 bombing of the World Trade Center, in which the authorities have named several Muslims as suspects.
The protesters said that Muslim immigrants were hard-working and peaceful but were being lumped together as radical religious zealots and terrorists.
“We are here today to show the media and the government officials that we are part of America and we are coming here to improve America,” said Abud El Khader, the imam of the Al-Faruq Mosque in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Scores of speakers denounced the press, accusing news organizations of conspiring with the government to destroy their religion.
The Islamic Circle of North America, an umbrella group of 33 Muslim organizations, said in a statement that if a Muslim person or group had any role in the bombing, they acted on their own and against Islamic principles, which the group said ensures the safety of civilians even in war.
The protesters said they objected to the press’ use of terms such as “fundamentalist Muslims” or “Islamic fundamentalism” in stories related to the bombing.
Muslim leaders say that unfavorable publicity intensified after the arrest of three Muslim men in connection with the bombing, which left six people dead and injured more than 1,000.
“We condemn this act,” said Mohammed Jamaal, a resident of Brooklyn.