Saturday’s nationwide “March Against Sharia” was launched by a group who had a reputation of fiercely criticizing Islam.
March Against Sharia
The marches are to be held in around 19 states. Moreover, the marches are being mounted and organized by ACT for America, which is a conservative organization that identifies itself “the NRA of national security.”
Act for America has long run counter to Sharia, which is a code derived from Islamic Holy Quran and meant to control the behavior and actions of Muslims.
The ACT for America organisers say that applying Sharia rules among Muslims cause abuses against women, including discrimination and honour killings.
Orlando shooting was the spark
The national coordinator of the marches Scott Presler, 29, who is Republican operative, says he initially took a stand against Muslim extremism after the Orlando shooting June of last year, considering Presler is homosexual.
“This was born on the Internet, from me sending out a Twitter post saying, ‘Hey, I would love to do a rally, who wants to help?’” Presler told NPR. The call, he said, gave rise to responses from several conservative activists. “My email has just been pummeled with activity.”
Denise Zamora was one of many activists who were quick to respond to Presler’s call. She proposed to carry out a march in San Bernardino, Calif, at the place of the 2015 mass shooting orchestrated by a Pakistani-American and his wife.
“I wasn’t even familiar with anything about Sharia law,” she told NPR. “I didn’t know much about radical Muslims or jihad. I wasn’t educated. So I started learning about everything, and when ACT for America announced they were going to do a nationwide march, I quickly volunteered.”
White supremacist back the marches
In Arkansas, a march was mounted by Billy Roper, an avowed white supremacist.
“We want to send a message to Muslims that they are not welcome in our communities,” Roper said in a podcast on Wednesday. “We want to send a message to Muslims that they’re not welcome in our state. And ultimately we want to send a message to Muslims that they’re not welcome in our nation and, of course, endgame, on our planet.”
Roper encouraged “white nationalists” to take part in the marches and hinted at bringing weapons to those rallies where “open carry” of guns is allowed.