NBC “People of the Year;” shades of 1939

Hagmann P.I.
November 29, 2010

By Douglas J. Hagmann

In the event you didn’t tune in to the NBC Thanksgiving special “People of the Year” with Matt Lauer, you missed that distinction being bestowed upon (among others) Sharif El-Gamal, the developer behind the “Ground Zero mosque” in New York City. Appearing very comfortable answering a short series of softball questions from “Lauer the enabler,” El Gamal wants us to believe that his intentions to build an iconic symbol of Islamic conquest are noble.

His camera presence on Thursday was quite different than the side he displayed during an attempted interview just three months ago by Fox 5 in New York.  Faced with legitimate questions concerning the project, its funding and his meteoric rise from table waiter in New York to mega-developer in a few short years, El Gamal became a bit camera shy and dodged the cameras as well as some pointed questions. Not so with NBC’s Lauer, who stuck to posing strictly softball questions to one of their “people of the year.”

While Lauer feigned surprise that El Gamal never considered the proximity of the planned Islamic center to Ground Zero, he emphasized of course, that it is full two blocks from the footprint of the World Trade Center towers. It was as if the six hundred or so feet from Ground Zero distance was akin to constructing the mosque in St. Louis.

Responding to the location issue, El Gamal deflected the matter by stating that “not once have I held my faith accountable for the horrific events of 9/11.” Additionally, El Gamal emphasized that he is an American, as in a good, patriotic, upstanding and proud American who is displaying magnanimity by seeing this project through.

Yet for millions of Americans and especially for the majority of the families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, the construction of a mosque in such close proximity Ground Zero is an outwardly obscene gesture by El Gamal, Imam Faisal Rauf and the Islamic community so intent on its construction. While it appears that to this point the Cordoba Initiative has the legal right to build the mosque and surround it with enough secular distractions to call it an Islamic center and partake of the teat of federal funding as well, they also have a moral obligation to the country that has provided them with the religious freedom they seek to exploit. In this case, Muslim hubris apparently trumps moral obligation.

Undeterred by the ethics and morality of this project, Sharif El Gamal has all of the apparent qualifications to run for a U.S. Congressional seat and to make the cut for one of NBC’s people of the year. He’s been a delinquent taxpayer to the tune of nearly a quarter of a million dollars, has defaulted on large loans, has an arrest record that includes assault and soliciting a prostitute, and has faced eviction over unpaid office rent.

Combining his callous disregard for the feelings of the majority of Americans who don’t want an Islamic center shell with a nugget mosque center built in the shadow of death and destruction with pages ripped from the instructional playbook for social jihad,  El Gamal seems to have certainly earned the designation of a person of the year, circa January 2, 1939. As for Matt Lauer and NBC, Time magazine and founder Henry Luce come to mind.

HAGMANN P.I. (Doug Hagmann)
Private Investigator for over 35 years. TV Host, Radio Host and Author.

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