Bikers, Muslims pledge return to D.C. next 9/11

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In the background, staggered clusters of motorcycles could be heard riding in the vicinity, but road closures kept the bikers from the immediate area of the rally.

Isa Hodge, chief of operations for the political action committee behind the Muslim event, said he was pleased with the turnout but complained that one cluster of riders who drove by and revved their engines disrupted a moment of silence for Sept. 11 victims.

D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said “all events went smoothly” and area police departments worked together “to effectively manage these events.”

But the ride was complicated by the fact that federal and local authorities denied a permit that would have offered the riders a police escort through traffic — a sore spot with organizers who thought the denial was for political purposes.

The bikers began departing from the store at about 10:30 a.m. in staggered groups of 50 or so, stopping for traffic lights and taking an hour or so to get onto the road. The ride congested D.C. traffic into the afternoon.

While he waited for the ride to begin, Danny Johnson shook hands with fellow riders and recounted memories of being in New York City 12 years ago. The self-described bishop with the Heat of Fire City Church in Louisville, Ky., gave last rites to victims at the Brooks Brothers store on Liberty Street across from ground zero. He said he has spent every Sept. 11 since in Manhattan — until this year.

“I think America has spent 12 years at a funeral,” the 52-year-old said. “We’ve got to revive our country and do something different than we’re doing. It’s time it had a resurrection.”

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