100,000 Expected to Attend Muslim Anti-Terror Rally in DC – Only a Couple Dozen Show Up
A rally organized by Muslim groups held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on July 23 was planned with the goal of drawing 100,000 attendees. Only dozens showed up according to media reports.
Al Jazeera reported on the planning for the rally for 100,000 that was initially planned as being anti-ISIS but was also billed as anti-Trump.
A group of American Muslims, joined by interfaith leaders, have launched an initiative to get thousands of Americans to take part in a march in Washington DC on July 23, in what they call a stand against bigotry, “extremism”, and gun violence.
The American Muslim March will take place at the National Mall – home to various large-scale historical gatherings – to also condemn “terrorism” and vocally eschew the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), organisers said.
Rally sponsors include more than 20 organisations representing the three monotheistic regions, as well as the Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, and Bahai communities.
The initiative comes at a time when anti-Muslim sentiment is high, in part driven by the rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for the banning of foreign Muslims from the United States.
Trump has made his Muslim ban a centrepiece of his candidacy: he recently reiterated his proposal following an attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 people dead. He also suggested profiling Muslims, citing Israel as an example, and implied that US President Barack Obama was complicit or sympathetic to radicalised Muslims.
Some Muslim groups have been more vocal about terrorism, gun violence and Islamophobia, since a married couple, inspired by ISIL ideology, killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.
“We were motivated to take action after San Bernardino,” said Khaled al-Mufti, a member of the rally organising committee. “We wanted to denounce ISIS as an ideology that claims to be representative of Islam, but it’s not. That’s not the religion we practise. We want to make it loud and clear to all the world: This is not Islam.”
The rally is being organised by the Islamic Society of Central Florida, and the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Washington DC, which recently hosted Secretary of State John Kerry and Hollywood actress and activist Angelina Jolie with Syrian refugees in recognition of World Refugee Day.
For the event, organisers are reaching out to renowned Muslims such as Yousef Islam, previously known as Cat Stevens, retired basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and influential Islamic scholar Hamza Yusuf. They are hoping to attract about 100,000 people from the Muslim and immigrant communities and anybody “affected by the recent surge in hostility towards minorities”, Mufti told Al Jazeera.
“The rhetoric going on in the presidential campaigns is creating an atmosphere of bigotry,” he said. “This is not only towards Muslim, but also towards immigrant communities. We therefore wanted to provide a platform for everyone to speak about those issues…”
The Eventbrite page for the rally listed almost as many sponsors as attendees. One of the sponsors, ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terror funding case, according to Wikipedia.
“In the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case, the United States Department of Justice named ISNA, along with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the North American Islamic Trust, as an unindicted co-conspirator and one of a number of “entities
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