Anti-Islam Rhetoric Heats Up Ahead of 9/11

Coincidence lands Islamic festival on anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks.

August 31, 2010, 5:38 PM

Sept. 6, 2010— -- Today, a Christian pastor will hold the second service in a series bashing the planned Muslim community center in downtown New York City in a sign of increasing vocal anti-Islam rhetoric ahead of the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"When they decided to build a mosque and decided to preach what I consider a 1,400-year-old lie from Hell, I decided that somebody should be down there preaching the truth of God's word," Florida pastor Bill Keller said over the weekend.

Although his first service was sparsely attended, Keller is not alone.

Another preacher, Terry Jones from the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, is planning what he called "International Burn a Koran Day" which encourages people to set fire to the Islamic holy book "in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam," according to a Facebook page dedicated to the event.

The Facebook page for Jones now boasts nearly 8,000 fans and is growing. In perhaps a snapshot of what's to come, the page's Wall has become a battle-royal of hatred. Christians, Muslims and Jews are slinging profanity at one another. Christians are condemning Muslims to hell -- mocking Muhammad. Muslims counter that "Jesus wuz Monkey" and that Islam will vanquish all. Ever more grisly pictures of suicide bombers and their victims have been posted, as have inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

They've been updating their hate-laced posts at breakneck speed. Facebook and some of the more sane folks out there appear to be culling the most obscene and idiotic scribbles.

Then there are the opposing fan pages: "Stop International Burn a Koran Day," And "Everybody Against Terry Jones burning Holy Quran on Sept 11" have 20 times more fans than Terry Jones' page.

Critics said the rhetoric is fueling anti-Islam violence. Late last month a Manhattan cab driver was allegedly stabbed by a passenger who reportedly asked him immediately before the attack if he was Muslim. Days later, a fire tore through the construction site of a planned Mosque in Tennessee. Investigators announced last week the cause of the fire was arson.

In response, leaders of Mosques from around the world are reaching out to other faiths for help.

"We are asking people to take into account security concerns... given the almost hysterical atmosphere we're in right now," said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Commercial From Muslim Group: 'I Don't Want to Take Over the Country'

Muslim groups are also running television advertisements designed to improve the image of the faith.

"I don't want to take over the country," one ad states.

Adding to the concern is a fluke in the calendar. This year the 9/11 anniversary coincides with the Muslim day of celebration for the Festival of Eid. Many worry pictures of Muslims celebrating will be misconstrued.

One Muslim advocacy group in Los Angeles was so concerned they contacted law enforcement and the Justice Department to warn them of the overlap.

"The issue I can sense brewing on hate sites on the Internet is, 'These Muslims are celebrating on September 11,'" Hooper told The Associated Press. "It's getting really scary out there."

ABC News' Kirit Radia contributed to this report