Kristine Withers claims to have been assaulted by the Islamic Thinkers’ Society, a group she says is likely tied to Al-Muhajiroun, which is a radical Islamic group that is believed to have worked with Al-Qaeda. The following is our conversation about ongoing threats to her from the group, and charges that have been brought against her by the group.
Ryan Mauro: First of all, Kristine, what got you involved in looking at the activities of these Islamic protesters you are warning about?
Kristine Withers: I noticed a group of Muslim men, demonstrating against the War on Terror and advocating the pro-fundamentalist Islam view, about 6 months after 9/11/01. I could not help notice them because they were demonstrating a block from me, which is also a busy commercial area for the Islamic-Hindu merchants, in an area I frequent because of the stores and transportation (to get to the subway). They had signs showing the 9/11 tragedy and were handing out brochures advocating fundamentalist Islamic. Upon research, based upon their literature, I found out they were connected with the Al-Muhajiroun group. At that time their brochure contained web links to that fundamentalist websites. I notified the NYPD anti terrorist taskforce, and this group disappeared.
Then around late May of 2003 I noticed the same people were out demonstrating again in the same area. They also knew who I was. I again notified the NYPD, and was told they had a permit. I went to my councilmen, and was ignored. Little by little their space grew with more and more signs, Television and stereo equipment. The crowds around them started to grow. I observed them to gain more information, but that led to verbal sparring with them. I admit it was a bad tactic, but I was genuinely offended that the people that were declaring war against my country, and western civilization, were there to recruit potential terrorists.
RM: Can you describe how you’ve been threatened and in your view, treated unfairly?
KW: My friend and I were walking our dogs, when we heard some loud voices. As we walked the voices became clearer, then we saw the a group of Islamic men demonstration. They had a loud amplifiers, they were about 3 feet tall, that was blaring out something in Arabic. The reason this caught my attention was because the week before, when I spoke to my State Senator, he informed me that they were not permitted to have sound equipment. I gave my dogs to my friend so she could take them home. I crossed the street to call the police, then I went over to the group, to inform them that I believed they were overstepping their permit, because of the sound system and because they were on both sides of the street. As I crossed to them, I observed their placards on the street (typical al-Muhajiroun stuff : US the real terrorist, oppose the war on terror, God hates the US because they have Homosexuals, restoration of the Caliphate, pictures of Abu Gharab, 9/11 pictures saying it was justified, etc..) Anyway I knocked down one of the signs, (the unaltered abu Gharab pictures, which showed naked people), next thing I know I was engaged in a verbal yelling match with them, they started threatening me and knocked me down. During this period (approx.. 20 mins before the police arrived) I turned down the rest of the signs, and held off a growing angry crowd of mad Muslims. They were telling me how wicked America and I was. A member of the group was also telling me, “we will kill you”, and “next time we will get all of NYC”. A man punched me in the face, knocking of my glasses. These were not just a group of individuals. These people (that started the demonstration) were men in their 20’s who were radicalized, mostly from the Mid-East, who were controlled by one elder man. They had great discipline that you would not see in just a mob. They were also videotaping this whole incident, with the elder man shouting “film this, it will get us more recruits.” Any way the police came finally. After a few minutes finding out about the incident, they took me away alone. This even after I informed them that I was assaulted, a fact which was verified by a few witnesses. When I asked the officer why they did not bring the people who assaulted me in, I was told that “since 9/11 we have to bend over backwards for them.”
Since that incident I have had other run-ins with them, been assaulted and threatened, but each time the police take me away.
KW: I cannot explain the reaction of the police, which is what I would describe as apathy and fear. I cannot explain why they would allow a group, which has links to groups which killed fellow officers, to recruit and propagandize our enemies cause. The only logical reasons, in my opinion, would be one of three. First: fear of lawsuits. This precinct (the 115th) was almost sued by a group of Muslims, because they treated the Koran with disrespect when they arrested illegal vendors. Second: political correctness. In New York City, cultural relativism is almost a religion. Each immigrant group has a political base, that exerts pressure on the local politician. These politicians, with the aid of local media, pushes this political line, which affects the actions of the police. I would like to remind you that Queens is number one in Illegal, and legal immigrants in proportion to the general population. Three: Political and Police graft. The local politician, Helen Sears, is beholding to the large indo/Muslim merchants, who are represented by the Jackson Heights Merchants Association. Either way it must be seen as corruption or incompetence. This group has such a clear connection with terrorist groups that to allow them to recruit and operate is clearly collusion. This is especially surprising from the NYPD which experienced an attack by these people.