Protestors shouted at an anti-Muslim rally outside a Phoenix, Arizona, mosque last May. Similar protests are scheduled at 28 mosques Oct. 9 and 10. (Reuters photo)
The protests are known as the “Global Rally for Humanity.” Jon Ritzheimer, who organized a similar rally at a mosque in Phoenix, Arizona, last May, said in a video posted to Facebook about the demonstrations: “I’m going to tell everyone to follow your Second Amendment rights in case we get attacked out there.” The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution supports the right to bear arms.
“Followers of this enemy all have one thing in common; they read the Koran,” stated Ritzheimer on the video. The white supremacist is then shown shooting a copy of the Koran.
“You don’t have to travel: go to any mosque, any Muslim establishment, any CAIR – Center for American Islamic Relations – office, and voice your opinion there,” said Ritzheimer, a proclaimed atheist.
At the Phoenix rally, protestors wore t-shirts bearing Nazi slogans and carried weapons.
The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Justice Department held an “Incident Community Coordination Team” call Oct. 6 with Muslim American community leaders to discuss the hate rallies. DHS has urged the community to contact law enforcement immediately if they believe they are being targeted for a possible hate crime or other forms of violence.
Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for CAIR, told India-West that law enforcement would only be able to intervene if there is a probable cause for violence. Holding a sign with hateful rhetoric is protected by the First Amendment, he noted. “They have the right to stand out there and be idiots,” he stated, adding, however: “If someone is holding an assault rifle and threatening people as they enter a mosque, law enforcement will intervene.”
Hooper said he is hoping the planned demonstrations will simply fizzle out or include just a few people. CAIR is not asking Muslim Americans to stay home this weekend but is encouraging people to be extra cautious, said Hooper.
The organization is asking administrators at mosques to ask local law enforcement for extra protection if a rally is planned in their area. CAIR is also warning people not to engage with the protestors or challenge their rhetoric.
The Sikh Coalition has also urged Sikh Americans to take precautions, noting that backlash against Muslims often results in violence against Sikhs because of the mistaken belief that Sikhs are Muslims.
“We ask the Sikh American community to exercise caution and vigilance during this time. We know our community and other religious minorities are vulnerable to backlash, hate crimes and discrimination following rallies like those scheduled for today and this weekend,” said Arjun Singh, the Sikh Coalition’s Director of Law & Policy, in a press statement.
“These rallies are intended to intimidate innocent Muslim Americans and are symptomatic of a much deeper problem: pervasive prejudice against Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian Americans,” said Singh. “While we support free speech, we condemn these hateful actions, which aim to threaten the safety of religious minorities and divide us as a nation,” he said.
Rallies are planned at mosques in the cities below. See interactive map for details.
• Amarillo, TX
• Dearborn, MI
• Murfreesboro, TN
• Oklahoma City, OK
• Huntsville, AL
• Phoenix, AZ
• Florence, KY
• Ellicott City, MD – Canceled/Removed
• Grand Junction, CO – Canceled/Removed
• Danville, VA
• Louisville, KY
• Spring Hill, FL
• Jacksonville, FL – Protesters redirected to Ocala event
• Medford, OR
• Racine, WI – Canceled/Removed
• Atlanta, GA
• Charleston, SC
• Bremerton, WA
• Arlington, TX
• Corpus Christi, TX
• Oakland, CA – Canceled/Removed
• Washington, DC – Canceled/Removed
• Ocala, FL
• Plainfield, IN
• Las Vegas, NV
• Fort Pierce, FL
• Edmund, OK
• Syracuse, NY
• Kingman, AZ
• Murrieta, CA
• Lexington, KY
• Dublin, OH