By KAREN SCHRAUFNAGEL
On Saturday, June 10, the Islamophobic group ACT (American Congress for Truth) for America held “Marches Against Sharia” in over two dozen cities across the United States. Emboldened by President Donald Trump and his strong anti-Muslim rhetoric, the group that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers one of the top hate groups in the U.S. decided to organize a show of force.
In some places, far-right groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers “guarded” the rallies. Some demonstrators held banners with pro-Trump and anti-immigration slogans.
But in almost every city, the numbers of right-wingers were dwarfed by allies and friends of the Muslim community who came out to say: “No hate, no fear. Muslims are welcome here.” In a few areas there were as many as 10 times as many present to show support for the Muslim community as those who came to denounce Islam, under the pretence that Sharia law poses a threat to “American democracy.”
In the Twin Cities, about 30 terrified bullies gathered in the Capitol Rotunda while over 400 people rallied on the Capitol steps in near hundred-degree heat. Facebook posts beforehand assured the bullies that they had a private parking lot and plenty of security to get them inside safely. The attendees were also encouraged to come “armed and ready.”
Meanwhile, outside in the sun, counter-demonstrators heard from speakers who explained what Sharia law really says—something the people inside the Capitol certainly did not learn. An anti-Zionist Jew relayed some of the requirements of Talmudic law for comparison.
While the anti-Sharia fanatics imagine a country living under Biblical law, all of the Abrahamic religions contain elements from times long past that would not translate well into the present day. While condoning slavery, for example, the Bible condemns to death anyone who touches the skin of a pig. Remember that the next time you watch a football game.
While Socialist Action does not believe it is accurate to label these bigots “fascists,” we do recognize the growing threat to communities of color and non-Christians (especially Muslims) posed by the empowering of haters who believe their increasingly violent assaults are sanctioned by God and the U.S. administration currently in power. We stand together against this rising tide of ignorant hatred and say: “No to bigotry. Yes to freedom of religion. We stand with our Muslim neighbors.”
Photo: Protesters picket March Against Sharia event in New York’s Foley Square. Marty Goodman / Socialist Action