August 16, 2002


News Conference Ends in Melee As Press Refuses to Pay Islamists (MARC CHAMPION, August 16, 2002, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)
As news conferences go, this one sounded promising.

"The Satanic Alliance and the Islamic response," proclaimed the top line of an invitation resembling a circus flier.

It added: "The most radical leaders of the Muslim community gather to give their uncompromising Islamic stance on the U.S. crusade against Muslims."

But Thursday's news conference at London's Euston Plaza hotel turned into a standoff between two uncompromising and uncomprehending worlds -- before ending in a melee of overturned furniture and squealing car tires as the Islamists made their getaway from a frustrated press corps.

The problem? The Islamists wanted to charge a £30 ($47) entry fee, and the journalists refused to pay. Two Scotland Yard detectives sent to monitor the event balked as well. [...]

By the end of a two-hour standoff, in which the Islamist leaders were left to talk among themselves, the atmosphere was hostile. A polite hotel request for the 40 or 50 journalists to make room for the Islamists to make a quick exit was met with laughter. "Move tighter together lads," said one journalist. "We're going to charge them 60 quid [pounds] each to get out."

Qiao Yang sent this and at first I thought he must have gotten it from the Onion or something Posted by Orrin Judd at August 16, 2002 7:48 PM
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