VICTORY: ACT for America Cancels Islamophobia Hate Rallies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al civ­il rights and racial jus­tice orga­ni­za­tion, believes ACT for Amer­i­ca’s deci­sion to can­cel its Sep­tem­ber 9 nation­wide series of anti-Mus­lim ral­lies is a vic­to­ry against white suprema­cy and Islam­o­pho­bia. ACT felt the need to sep­a­rate itself from the vio­lent white suprema­cist groups exposed in Char­lottesville last month, which is a tri­umph for South Asian, Mus­lim, Arab, Sikh, Hin­du, and Mid­dle East­ern com­mu­ni­ties nation­wide. Nev­er­the­less , we must not for­get that vio­lent tenets of white suprema­cy under­pin ACT for Amer­i­ca’s core mis­sion to autho­rize Islam­o­pho­bia through state sanc­tioned dis­crim­i­na­tion.

“White suprema­cy and Islam­o­pho­bia are incom­pat­i­ble with core Amer­i­can val­ues of jus­tice and equal­i­ty. ACT for Amer­i­ca’s deci­sion to can­cel its Islam­o­pho­bic ral­lies is a clear sig­nal that mes­sages of love are drown­ing out mes­sages of hate,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “This is in no small terms a vic­to­ry and is emblem­at­ic of the pow­er of stand­ing togeth­er, unit­ed from all faiths and back­grounds against big­otry and divi­sion.”

ACT, report­ed­ly the nation’s largest anti-Mus­lim hate group, was plan­ning over 67 ral­lies in 36 states under the theme “Amer­i­ca First” just two days before the anniver­sary of the events of Sep­tem­ber 11th, 2001 to tar­get and man­u­fac­ture hatred for Mus­lim Amer­i­cans at a time when vio­lence against Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties remains at a high pitch. ACT’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has made her racism clear, stat­ing on numer­ous occa­sions, “Every prac­tic­ing Mus­lim is a rad­i­cal Mus­lim” and Mus­lims are a “nat­ur­al threat to civ­i­lized peo­ple of the world, par­tic­u­lar­ly West­ern soci­ety.” In a video mes­sage launch­ing the Sep­tem­ber 9 ral­lies, Ms. Gabriel exclaimed, “Let’s show our pres­i­dent that we are behind him in secur­ing our nation.”

The Pres­i­dent, like­wise, has made his racism clear, stat­ing on the record, “I think Islam hates us,” sup­port­ing his admin­is­tra­tion’s dogged pur­suit of a “Mus­lim Ban” among oth­er poli­cies, and essen­tial­ly val­i­dat­ing white suprema­cist vio­lence in his recent state­ments in response to Char­lottesville. The admin­is­tra­tion’s rhetoric, poli­cies, and white suprema­cist alle­giances have embold­ened hate vio­lence against our com­mu­ni­ties. Since the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed 141 inci­dents of vio­lence against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab Amer­i­can, already sur­pass­ing totals from the year lead­ing up to the elec­tion.

ACT already attempt­ed to fan the flames of Islam­o­pho­bia ear­li­er this sum­mer with lit­tle suc­cess. In June ACT held sim­i­lar Islam­o­pho­bic ral­lies in 30 cities across the nation under the theme “March Against Shari­ah.” This effort was a resound­ing fail­ure, and was met with strong resis­tance from civ­il rights groups who held alter­na­tive events that far out­num­bered the size and scope of ACT’s efforts. The White House was silent in response.

Despite the admin­is­tra­tion’s selec­tive silence, our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to decry and mobi­lize against Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy of any kind, and it’s evi­dent that groups such as ACT for Amer­i­ca are hear­ing our mes­sage loud and clear. It’s high time the admin­is­tra­tion and the Pres­i­dent, along with all elect­ed and appoint­ed offi­cials, con­demn Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy in the clear­est and strongest terms to ensure that our com­mu­ni­ties can live in a just and inclu­sive soci­ety for all Amer­i­cans.

CONTACT: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org