ONLY ON 3: Pantano misleading about rally against Iman speaking at UNC

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Submitted: Wed, 03/16/2011 - 2:36pm
Updated: Tue, 01/03/2012 - 9:48pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Congressional candidate Ilario Pantano claims that UNC Chapel Hill is paying Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric who wants to build a mosque at Ground Zero, $20,000 to speak Wednesday night on campus.

In a recent news release, Pantano wrote the following:

“While I have fought two wars to protect our God-given rights, including the Freedom of Speech, I cannot understand why the Governor and the chancellors of North Carolina’s public university system thought it prudent to award $20,000 to Imam Rauf, an individual that has done so much to hurt so many. Given the budgetary crisis we are facing in South Eastern North Carolina, there could not be a less compelling use of scarce educational funding. Wouldn’t that $20,000 be better spent as a merit scholarship or as a contribution in support relief efforts to a tsunami ravaged Japan?”

However, a news release distributed by the Institute for Arts and Humanities says the lecture is supported by “private funds.” (

Here is a copy of Pantano’s full release:
Pantano Invited to Speak at Protest of Ground Zero Mosque Founder at UNC-Chapel Hill

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial cleric behind the mega mosque at Ground Zero, is being paid $20,000 by a public North Carolina University to speak on March 16th, 2011. The Christian Action Network is staging an opposition rally and candlelight vigil and has invited a number of speakers including US Marine combat veteran and congressional candidate Ilario Pantano.

The Christian Action Network (CAN) will show its groundbreaking documentary opposing the controversial Ground Zero Mosque on March 16 (5-8pm) at the Carolina Hotel just a short distance from where Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will be lecturing at UNC-Chapel Hill. CAN is conducting a nationwide tour with the film and survivors of 9/11 targeting cities specifically where Imam Rauf is visiting.

Pantano’s advocacy for the 9/11-victim families and opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Times-owned regional papers. On September 11, 2010 Pantano spoke at a demonstration organized by activist Pamela Geller which included 9/11 family members, first responders and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. 40,000 citizens rallied at the site of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in NYC and after his speech Pantano discussed the mosque on FOX News’ “Sean Hannity Show.”

Today Pantano issued the following statement:

“While I have fought two wars to protect our God-given rights, including the Freedom of Speech, I cannot understand why the Governor and the chancellors of North Carolina’s public university system thought it prudent to award $20,000 to Imam Rauf, an individual that has done so much to hurt so many. Given the budgetary crisis we are facing in South Eastern North Carolina, there could not be a less compelling use of scarce educational funding. Wouldn’t that $20,000 be better spent as a merit scholarship or as a contribution in support relief efforts to a tsunami ravaged Japan?”

Ilario Pantano has also been invited to speak at Ground Zero on September 11, 2011 on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks and is currently a 2012 candidate for the US Congress.

On the morning of September 11th 2001, Pantano was on his way to work in downtown Manhattan when he saw the twin towers burning. Having previously worked at 4 World Trade Center, Pantano lost friends in the attacks and since he fought as a US Marine infantryman in Desert Storm (1991), he knew immediately that America was at war. Pantano rejoined the Marines as a 32-year old officer and commanded a platoon of Infantry Marines during the insurgent uprising in Fallujah 2004. Pantano chronicled both his war and 9/11 experiences in “Warlord,” a memoir published by Simon and Schuster (2006) and he has served as a Sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina. In 2010 he ran against a 7-term incumbent democrat for the US Congress in what was one of the most closely watched races in North Carolina (NC7).

Pantano was among the first to sound the alarm with his June 2010 editorial* and has joined with many 9/11 families in opposition of this insensitive martyr marker at Ground Zero.


  • Guest says:

    I don’t understand the liberal defination of tolerance. When they want someone they agree with to speak – it is all beauty and rainbows no matter who funds the events.

    But, when conservatives speak it is okay to ridicule, protest and personally attack them.

    Tolerance – yeah right!!!

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Class of 2002 was required to read a book ABOUT the Quran called “Approaching the Quran: The Early Revelations”. They have also made “Confederates in the Attic” about the neo-Confederate movement required reading for one class. These reading assignments are to introduce them to the rigors of study at the college level.

    Universities try to make students well rounded by offering and subjecting them to subjects and people that they wouldn’t normally experience in the real world, this is why it takes 4+ years to graduate… 50% of what they “learn” has NOTHING to do with the major they declared.

    Just clearing it up before the anti-Obama teams arrive.

  • Brock says:

    Nice job of distorting the facts. They weren’t required to read the Koran, they were asked to read Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations. It was an optional assignment for a 2 hour lecture that is meant to acclimate students into the concepts of a open-mindedness and acceptance at an extremely liberal arts college. It had nothing to do with admittance to the university. The summer book reading has never had any influence on a student’s education beyond drawing incoming freshmen together and acclimating them to university life.

    I find the levels of bigotry here astounding and the hypocrisy stenching. The fact that Pantano would state that he supports our freedoms, but campaign against the freedom of religion is appalling.
    The world needs more education on religions of all natures if we’re ever going to move beyond the quagmire of hatred and prejudice that we currently embody.

  • Robert says:

    Regardless of whether the state approved the funds for the Iman to speak at UNC or not, the fact remains that the University, which is supported by tax funds, is allowing this to happen. Remember a few years ago when UNC required incoming freshmen to read the Koran before admission? It seems the Islamic influence is quite strong at UNC, and this is a disturbing fact.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    You must understand that radical Islam is simply another tool of the liberal left. Anything that brings America to her knees is fine with them. That way they can then rebuild it into that Socialist Utopia they crave so badly, where no one has to work, the cars run on smiles, and everyone gets everything they want.

    You see, once we’re bankrupt and sliding into Third World status, they figure that the Muslims will love us, and we can all sit down and have a sing-along.

    UNC Chapel Hill is a repository for many burned-out hippies turned professors. In any contest of “Furthest Left School in America,” they could give Berkeley a run for the money.

  • Guest says:

    Congressional candidate Ilario Pantano claims that UNC Chapel Hill is paying Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric who wants to build a mosque at Ground Zero, $20,000 to speak Wednesday night on campus.

    What’s wrong with the first sentence of this article?

    No, I mean besides Pantano’s false claim that has generally been parroted as a fact.

    It’s the ‘building a mosque at Ground Zero’

    Look it up. You can’t even SEE ground zero from the building site. There are porn stores AT Ground Zero. Why isn’t the American Taliban, who can’t stay out of a woman’s uterus, protesting the souvenir shops (and porn purveyors) that sit directly adjacent to Ground Zero?

    I’m waiting for the day that the Press stops printing Tea Party talking points and actually becomes the ‘Liberal Media’ that they are constantly being accused of being by the right. Seriously. Any outlet that uncritically calls this thing a ‘Ground Zero’ Mosque is NOT ‘liberal’

  • Rocky Lore says:

    Democrats are the American Taliban. They are anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and pro-Sharia.

  • justin says:

    You’re absolutely correct – shame on any university for allowing free speech and discussion of controversial subjects. We wish all the skulls of gray matter attending universities would simply walk in lock step with Christian beliefs. And, by the way, the UNC system didn’t ask students to read the Koran – they were asked to read “Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelation” by a Christian religion scholar named Michael Sells…on the heels of the 9-11 attacks, our nation needed enlightenment, not more hatred in the name of “religion”….declaring all Muslims the enemy equates to blaming all people of German heritage responsible for the genocide of Jews in WWII….course, you probably don’t believe that happened either.

  • R. J. Dobson says:

    How I would like to be in the audience to ask the Imam a few questions about Islam.

    Why are “moderate” Muslims not speaking out about the inferior, degrading position of women in Islamic societies?

    Why have they not protested the stoning of women for crimes such as adultury?

    Why did they not protest the hangings of young gay men that have occurred over and over in Iran and other barbaric Islamic countries?

    Why do “moderate” Muslims remain silent when a Muslim father murders his own daughter for being too “Western”?

    I could go on and on with questions, but I think you get the point.

  • watchyoursix says:

    While there is no question that Ilario is a weird dude, he has an oblique point. UNC is not directly paying this imam, they’ve positioned him to recieve pay. I agree with crazy Ilario on this one, UNC should have given direction for private donors to fund something worthwhile. Would UNC allow a re-birthing preacher or maybe a snake handling preacher to come on campus & give a speech? There’s no difference between these guys and the bizzarro imams.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    He comes across as an overly dramatic doofus/wannabe comedian to me. From what I’ve heard of his message, however, he is 100% spot on.

    So tell us more about those TeaBaggers destroying America. That should be good for a few laughs.

  • Guest says:

    If this was true then liberals should love the Tea Party. They are doing a good job of bringing America to its knees.
    BTW: You should try weening yourself off of Glen Beck.

  • Guest says:

    Give the guy a break-he fought for our Country-has some backbone. Dont you wish you could say that about Obama. Do you think they are shaking in their boots in Libya, Syria or Iran-with this light weight in charge. His lack of experience and incompetence is clear even to the Saudis. I dont know whicjh is scarier- the events in japan or obamas inabilty or unwillingness to tackle and lead on tough issues. He makes Jimmy Carter look good. As for Pantano-he is a fighter and he wont run from these clowns who smear him

  • Guest says:

    With the people they have run and/or elected.Some were so bad they couldn’t win the ones they should have (Reid).Then there was the 91 year old guy in NH they did elect who resigned because he didn’t have a clue, he also said some things I’m sure you would have agreed with.I could go on but then I’ll start sounding as crazy as you.

  • guesty says:

    I’m sure you meant the Tea Party was bringing America to its senses. Wisconsin finally figured out unions are bad and dealt them a harsh blow even with the dipocrats running out of state. Once you liberals figure out what I earn belongs to me and my family, the better off all of America will be. Once you stop all the giveaway programs that produce nothing but another generation of sponges, all of America will be stronger. Life isn’t fair; life is hard and even harder if you are lazy or stupid.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    …a woman who WASN’T elected, and a guy who resigned immediately? That’s the evidence that Teabaggers are destroying the country?

    I’ve got news for you. You ALREADY sound crazy.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    I was talking about Glen Beck, oh ye of no reading comprehension.

  • GuestyGuest says:

    Why is having an Imam speak at a PUBLIC university wrong when plenty of Christian pastors and preachers speak without any problem?

    We have freedom of religion in this country. UNC-CH is not Bob Jones or Liberty. An Imam has the same right to speak at a public school as any other person representing any faith. That’s what it means to live in a country that is supposed to value its Constitution and the freedom of all people to believe or not to believe in whatever they want.

    No one is forcing you or anyone else to attend this meeting; public funds are NOT used.

    A university is supposed to be a place of exposure to different ideas and beliefs; what’s wrong with that?

    Colleges and universities host guest speakers all the time. Having an Imam speak is no different than having the Pope or Pat Robertson or a Druid or even George Lucas speak… big effin’ deal.

    Grow up people. If your faith is threatened by people of different beliefs speaking on a public non-religious campus, then your faith isn’t very strong to begin with.

  • Don Loftin says:

    Even tho so-called “private funds” are paying the Iman, there is no doubt in my mind that those funds could and should be put to a better use than paying this person to speak on our State-owned campus.
    A scholarship or aid is certainly a better use.

  • greg says:

    Wouldn’t a state agency telling a private donor what to do be government overreach? Remember that when hatemongers like Coulter and Savage come to town to spew lies. They’re the ones villifying Rauf to begin with, and you buy it hook, line, and sinker. Why do they do it? Because they make a living on controversy, and you perpetuate that market by not knowing what an unbiased source is and by refusing to see if the people they demonize, like Rauf, are actually as bad as they say.

  • Everett Hervey says:

    Illario Pantano is desperate for an issue to negate his irrelevance.

  • Guest461 says:

    If Jim Jones and Hitler or Stalin were alive to speak, you wouldn’t see anything wrong with that either would you? It is people like you that have no allegience or honor to your country to belive it is okay for vermin such as the Imam speak to our young students. This man is clearly a trouble maker walking free to contaminate. If I knew who you were, I’d turn you into the FBI and Secret Service for investigation. This wonderful United States of America has no room for traitors and side-lipped, left wing trouble makers such as yourself. MOVE, while you still have time! The Arab world will welcome you with a basket of rocks that will eventually graduate you to an AK-47. Then you can play like they do! Just get out of here and go where you belong.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    So because someone agrees with freedom of religion and freedom of speech you would turn them over to the FBI? Bwahahahahahhaaa Good luck with that.

    Apparently you think people are so weak minded that just listening to someone of a different belief system will turn them into a terrorist. Frankly its people like you who need to be watched, you seem fanatical and scared, just the type to stockpile weapons.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    shout down Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren or Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum?

    You see, it’s not about religion, per se. It’s about a religion that aspires to expressed anti-American, geo-political goals, whose members openly admit they are waging a jihad right here in America with the only weapons they have, their words. And while you’re defending freedom of speech, they’re more than ready to deny you that same right if you disagree with them and try to use it.

    Never mind that they want you, your wife, your kids, and your dog dead. Just keep treating them as your pals and buddies and defending them at every opportunity.

    As I wrote in another post, we’re already onto you….

  • Guest461 says:

    …and what it stands for. I haven’t forgotten what happened to over 3000 innocent American Women, Men and Children at the hands of “fanatical and scared” terrorists with nothing on their minds but senseless murder of civilians. Freedom of religion does not equate with freedom to murder, or freedom to wreck an entire country.

    I do not believe most people to be weak minded. I see no positive reason to have the Imam speak from one of our state universities and I see absolutely no reason why anyone that has any sort of allegiance to his/her country could possibly support someone with ideals parallel to the Imam. He is nothing other than a trouble maker. We don’t want him here anymore than they wanted him in New York, that is perfectly clear!

    You are welcome to sling your accusations about personalities all you like. Your self-serving admission that you don’t believe in any God or religion and hate “stinky” children lends a pitiful credence to your liberal ideas. I doubt seriously you are from the United States as your posts indicate that you would easily become a spineless traitor when to going gets tough…all in the name of “freedom of speech and religion”.

    Oh….just to inform you, I don’t stockpile weapons. I do have my share, practice my marksmanship regularly and am licensed to carry. You can bet your life that myself and millions of other Americans are keeping our eyes open for those that intend to commit any acts of terrorism against our country and against our people. People like you will run with their tail tucked, back to Europe where you came from.

  • Guest says:

    low ratings and lousy reporters are a sure fire equation for mediocrity in televison. you stand out as an outfit that is mean spirited, visicous and usually wrong. Hard reporting is fine but you clowns take it to an extreme. Joe McCarthy would have relatd well to this network. No wonder more and more people tune you out- that aside Ilano is right and you clowns are once again in the gutter.
    From Murrow and Cronkite to wway3–how sad.

  • Guestaphone says:

    You said it, Billy Bond.

    And it’s not the Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists who are strapping suicide bombs to their wastes and blowing themselves and all around them to smithereens.

    Islam has some very serious flaws that must be faced head-on. Islam must evovle out of the sixth-century mentality that permeates it.

  • Guest28429 says:

    Islam has a strict moral and honor code something that is lacking in our culture. Granted there are those sects that have gone to the extreme with some of these beliefs. Honor killings, hangings, etc., are hard to understand and see as even being acceptable to us. In their culture it is acceptable. I am sure they would want to ask us some questions also. Understanding and acceptance has to start to happen for us all to live as one.

  • Billy Bond says:

    “Understanding and acceptance hast to start to happen for us all to live as one.”

    I beg your pardon.

    Understanding and acceptance will happen when moderate Muslims stand firm and denounce the hateful, violent, sexist, mysoginist EXTREMISTS in their midst.

    Until then, civilized, humane people will . . . distrust and denounce . . . Islam for not condemning these barbaric practices.

  • Guest says:

    This Iman is a symbol of the lack of tolerance. His antics in new york would be shocking in anything but the politically correct at all cost world of modern so-called liberalism. The Iman’s funding is from very suspect groups in the middle east so let’s not make him something he us not. Hr doesnt preach hate directly–just by innuendo.
    If we had a radical white speaker would we be as tolereant here?
    I say reject all forms of extremism–and this Iman is one kind.
    Pantano as usual had the guts to stand up–more than that coward Obama and our state democratic leaders.

  • RabbleRouser says:

    Leave it to Ilario to use fear and lies to generate free publicity leading up to his next campaign. What, specifically, has the Imam done to “hurt so many”?
    Apparently, Pantano has forgotten that the administration of none other than George W Bush recruited Imam Rauf to help strengthen relationships between Christians and Muslims in the USA. After 9/11. The US State Dept and the FBI have recruited Rauf to help them better understand the Muslim community.

    I have read information from several sources about Imam Rauf. I can’t find anything to indicate that he was ever suspected of murder. How ’bout you, Ilario?

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