Islamophobic campaigns are gaining momentum in the U.S. with several anti-Islam protests this past weekend.
A large crowd protested outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix on Saturday with slogans that read "Stop Islamic immigration to the U.S.A.," and taunting them with bacon. Muslims abstain from pork products.
Jon Ritzheimer, a former U.S. Marine who organized the protest, called it a “Global Rally for Humanity” but independent observers termed it the greatest protest against Muslims in recent history. He is said to have worked in conjunction with anti-Muslim groups inside and outside the country, such as Britain First, United Patriot Front and Patriotic Islam against the Islamization of the West (PIGIDA). He wanted the mosque to be demolished, saying he was happy to have taken “baby steps” in protecting the world from terror.
He added that he was speaking for humanity, which according to him is attacked on a daily basis by Muslims, attributing the problem not just to extremists, but Muslims following the Quran literally. Others wanted withdrawal of the non-profit status accorded to the community center, producing passages from the Quran that they said promoted violence.
However, they met with resistance from an equal number of volunteers who wore white and donned Guy Fawkes masks, holding up signs that read "Islamophobia kills" and "Using the 2nd Amendment to intimidate people from using the 1st Amendment is fascist."
Oh look, it's THIS guy again http://t.co/76f5VHfLDg
— Combat Echizen (@Battlehork) October 9, 2015
— Ilish (@XilishX) October 9, 2015
Usama Shahi, who heads the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said he was disappointed. This was not the first time the center had been protested–hundreds had done the same thing earlier in May. Others have harassed Muslim worshippers outside the mosque, holding guns. He stressed that Ritzheimer's claims of the mosque being a haven for terrorists was “pure fantasy.'”
While this is said to be part of several anti-Muslim rallies across the country, Zainab Chaudry, who works as an Outreach Manager with the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), stated that around 30 people belonging to multiple faiths gathered outside the Dar-Al-Taqwa Mosque in Howard County, Maryland, on the same day, to protect the mosque. At the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, another mosque, there was no protest, despite one being scheduled for 4 p.m. Imad Enchassi, the Imam, said no one had bothered to turn up, while some were indeed present at the University of Central Oklahoma, protesting outside a conference on the life of Prophet Mohammed. Protestors showed up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, but were outnumbered by counter-protestors.