‘Green Book’ writer apologizes for anti-Muslim 9/11 tweet

Nick Vallelonga (far right) apologized to Mahershala Ali (center). (File photo: AFP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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‘Green Book’ writer apologizes for anti-Muslim 9/11 tweet

LOS ANGELES: “Green Book” screenwriter Nick Vallelonga has issued an apology for an anti-Muslim tweet from 2015 in which he expressed support for false claims that Muslims were celebrating in New Jersey following the 9/11 terror attacks.
“I want to apologize. I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen, and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with Green Book,” he said in a statement late Thursday.
“I especially deeply apologize to the brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali, and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused,” he said.
“I am also sorry to my late father who changed so much from Dr. Shirley’s friendship and I promise this lesson is not lost on me. ‘Green Book’ is a story about love, acceptance and overcoming barriers, and I will do better.”
Ali, who is Muslim, on Sunday won a Golden Globe award for his role as the real-life piano virtuoso Don Shirley in “Green Book.”
The film, which picked up two other Golden Globes and is expected to be nominated for the Oscars, recounts the unlikely friendship between Shirley, who was black, and his driver, Tony Lip (Vallelonga’s father), during a concert tour through the deep south in 1962.
Vallelonga deleted his Twitter account after the controversial tweet dating back to November 2015 recently resurfaced on social media.
The tweet came in response to then candidate Donald Trump’s claim that he saw thousands of people cheering in Jersey City after the terror attacks.
“@realDonaldTrump 100% correct,” Vallelonga wrote at the time. “Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news.”
Participant Media, which co-financed and produced “Green Book,” has also released a statement denouncing Vallelonga’s tweet.
“We find Mr.Vallelonga’s Twitter post offensive, dangerous and antithetical to Participant Media’s values. We reject it in no uncertain terms,” it said.


Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

Updated 18 July 2019
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Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

  • Authorities estimate the mosquer dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries
  • Rare to find house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers

RAHAT, Israel: Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of one of the world’s oldest rural mosques, built around the time Islam arrived in the holy land, they said on Thursday.
The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries.
There are large mosques known to be from that period in Jerusalem and in Makkah but it is rare to find a house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers, the antiquities authority said.
Excavated at the site were the remains of an open-air mosque — a rectangular building, about the size of a single-car garage, with a prayer niche facing south toward Makkah.
“This is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E.,” said Gideon Avni of the antiquities authority.
“The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period.”