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10 Jun, 2017

Time to impose visa curbs on U.S. citizens globally

Bangkok – An extremist anti-Muslim hate group is planning to hold rallies across 29 cities in the United States on June 10 to highlight what it calls the threat of “Sharia law”. Although the website of ACT for America describes these rallies as being opposition to female genital mutilation, honor killings and violence towards the LGBTQ community, the website also has a tab clearly showing that it is a diehard supporter of Israel.

On June 8, a coalition of nearly 100 Jewish, Christian, Sikh and Muslim civil rights organisation wrote to the Mayors of those cities calling ACT for America “the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group” and asking them to ban the rallies. They noted that the rallies are being “timed during the Islamic month of Ramadan when Muslims around the world fast during the daylight hours.” They said the rallies “have been disingenuously branded “March Against Sharia” and explicitly target Muslims at a time when hatred and bigotry has swept the nation.”

On its website, ACT for America describes itself as the USA’s “largest nonprofit, non-partisan, grassroots national security organization with 525,000 members and 1,000 volunteer groups focused on educating, engaging, and mobilizing citizens and elected officials to impact legislative outcomes to protect America.” This is supposedly designed to “protect America from terrorism.”

As I read through the various media releases about the rallies it is organising, it occurred to me that all these 525,000 members and 1,000 volunteer groups can walk into dozens of countries around the world without a visa, and with no questions asked.

In their letter to the Mayors of the 29 cities, the civil rights groups write: “ACT’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel, regularly vilifies Muslims, claiming that practicing Muslims cannot be loyal to the United States. She also once said that “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” and that Muslims are a “natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society.” Both she and ACT have had a long history of promoting policies at the federal and state levels intended to manufacture fear of Muslims, and the group has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

I don’t know if Brigitte Gabriel is on any watch-list but it would be fair to assume that if she has more than half a million backers in the U.S., she also has backers abroad. For sure, many of them are living in Thailand. They make their presence felt virtually every day with a regular stream of anti-Islam letters to the editor in the local newspapers, and spew hate via dozens of other media outlets.

In various guises, euphemistically referred to as opposition to “sharia law” or “terrorism,” they cite their right to freedom of expression to persistently and consistently bang away at this “threat”. Like ACT for America, they are diehard Israel supporters. Many hold dual Israel-American citizenship and have served in the Israeli armed forces.

When Muslims seek to highlight these groups’ connections to Israel, whose security companies are making billions of dollars in windfall profits by offering solutions to protect the world from “Islamic terrorism”, Muslims are castigated as “extremists” or “anti-Semites”. They are also put on watch-lists, racially profiled at airports and denied visas.

But American extremists, bigots, Islamophobes, neo-Nazis and white supremacist members of the Ku Klux Klan get away scot-free. Their U.S. passports gives them free and easy access to nearly all the Islamic countries.

When terrorist attacks occur, perpetuated by supposedly by “Islamic terrorists”, Muslim communities all around the world are pressured to issue “condemnations” and crackdown on their extremists.

When American supremacist extremist bigots attack mosques, temples and gurdwaras and ordinary citizens in the U.S., American expatriates living comfortably in Islamic countries and other parts of the world say nothing. Nor do they come under any pressure to say anything.

This has to change. Double-standards, hypocrisy and lies have to end.

Countries all over the world need to level the definition of “security threat.” If enforcement officers are spending gobs of money and time pursuing suspected “Islamic terrorists”, why should they not classify all the 525,000 members of ACT for America, both within the U.S. and abroad, as potential security threats. What are they doing to monitor all the other American extremists, bigots, supremacists and terrorists?

Today, millions of innocent Muslims are suffering the backlash of problems caused by a miniscule minority of violence-prone extremists. Their freedom to travel is being severely impeded.

It’s time for American citizens to feel the same pain.

If the fundamental basis of the rule of law is that no-one should be above the law, that should apply equally to both Islamic and American extremists. Then, and only then, will the problem of extremism be solved.

Read more:

CAIR: June 10 Anti-Islam Hate Rallies Show Convergence of White Supremacism, Islamophobia

(WASHINGTON, DC, 6/7/2017) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today pointed to anti-Islam rallies planned nationwide on Saturday, June 10, as further evidence of the growing cooperation between white supremacist, neo-Nazi, anti-government, and Islamophobic hate groups.

CAIR said it is assisting local communities in responding to the hate rallies with peaceful educational events and activities focused on promoting mutual understanding and challenging bigotry. [NOTE: To learn more about local responses to the hate rallies, contact the nearest CAIR chapter by going to: http://www.cair.com/cair-chapters.html ]

SEE: Map of June 10 Anti-Muslim Protests

The leading sponsor of the rallies, Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT for America, has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC has named “Brigitte Gabriel” as a member of the nation’s “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”

Gabriel has argued that, “America is at stage two Islamic Cancer.” She believes “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim,” a Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States,” and that Arabs “have no soul.”

CAIR Islamophobia Monitor: ACT for America

SPLC: Anti-Muslim Inner Circle

“Act for America is a hate group. Period. Its rallies are hate marches. Full stop,” said Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia. “We encourage all Americans who value religious freedom and reject bigotry to take part in peaceful and lawful local activities challenging these hate rallies.”

Video: ACT for America is a Hate Group, Plain and Simple

Saylor noted that ACT for America’s official Facebook page promoting the hate rallies is full of racist and violent content targeting Islam and Muslims.

SEE: ACT for America’s “March Against Sharia” Official Facebook Page Full of Racist Anti-Muslim Sentiment

The hate rally in Arkansas is being organized by longtime neo-Nazi Billy Roper. Roper promoted the event on a neo-Nazi message board founded by a former Ku Klux Klan leader. He claims that representatives of his network will take part in ACT for America rallies in Indiana, New York, California, and Texas.

SEE: Neo-Nazi Billy Roper Organizing ACT for America’s “March Against Sharia” in Arkansas

Joey Gibson, a leader of the group “Patriot Prayer,” is helping to organize the ACT for America rally in Seattle. Jeremy Joseph Christian, who allegedly stabbed to death two men who came to the defense of a Muslim woman recently in Portland, Ore., attended one of that group’s rallies. Gibson acknowledged that some rallies attracted “legitimate Nazis.”

SEE: Portland Uneasy; Suspect Shouts ‘You’ve Got No Safe Place!’

Anti-government and racist groups such as Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, American Civil Defense, Three Percenters, and White Lives Matter are also supporting the ACT for America hate rallies.

SEE: White Supremacists Are Planning a Day of Action Against Muslims

ACT for America’s anti-Muslim bigotry was highlighted recently in a Washington Post exposé.

SEE: This group believes Islam threatens America: ‘It’s a spiritual battle of good and evil.’

The SPLC has documented the merging of racist, anti-government and other troubling sentiment with ACT’s Islamophobia.

The Batesville, Ark., leader of ACT has advocated stoning “rebellious children” and executing prisoners “that cannot be rehabilitated in two years.” The head of ACT’s 5280 Coalition “left a comment on Counter-Currents, an overtly anti -Semitic website and publishing house run by white nationalist Greg Johnson.”

SEE: SPLC’s ACT for America Fires Prominent Chapter Leader, But Many Racists Remain

ACT FOR America’s hate rallies are reminiscent of John Ritzheimer’s 2015 “Global Rally for Humanity.” Ritzheimer instructed participants to hold events at mosques and urged them to come armed. He subsequently pled guilty to felony charges after taking part in the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by anti-government activists.

SEE: CAIR Asks Mosques Nationwide to Take Added Safety Measures Prior to Anti-Islam Rallies October 10

CAIR Asks Americans of All Faiths to Join Educational Response to June 10 Anti-Islam Rallies

(WASHINGTON, DC, 6/9/2017) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today urge Americans of all faiths and backgrounds to take part in local peaceful educational events and activities in response to anti-Islam rallies planned nationwide on Saturday, June 10.

[NOTE: A number of organizations will be using #CounterACTHate to support the peaceful challenge to Saturday’s hate rallies.]

SEE: Dozens of US Cities Brace for Anti-Muslim Marches

Anti-Islam Rallies This Weekend Worry Muslim Leaders

Video: CAIR Rep Corey Saylor Joins Members of Congress to Denounce Anti-Muslim Marches

“The best way to respond to the promotion of hatred and bigotry is through education and outreach,” said CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor.

He noted that CAIR chapters nationwide are sponsoring or joining in local efforts to counter the hate rallies.

ACTION REQUESTED: To learn more aboutt local responses to the hate rallies and how you can participate in the anti-hate campaign, contact the nearest CAIR chapter by going to: http://www.cair.com/cair-chapters.html

Some Examples of CAIR Chapter Responses to the Anti-Islam Rallies:

CAIR-SFBA: 100+ Groups to Hold San Jose ‘Unity Rally’ in Response to Anti-Islam Protest

CAIR-MN, Interfaith Leaders to Hold ‘Unity Against Hate’ Press Conference in Response to Planned Anti-Islam Protest

CAIR: Georgia Muslims to Host Interfaith Rally and Food Drive June 10 as Response to Hate Group’s Planned Anti-Islam Protest

CAIR-NY and NYIC to Co-Sponsor New York City Loves Muslims Rally, Show Positive Alternative to Anti-Muslim Rally

CAIR-CT Anti-Hate Event

The anti-Islam rallies are being organized by the hate group ACT for America and supported by white supremacist, neo-Nazi, anti-government, and Islamophobic groups.

CAIR: June 10 Anti-Islam Hate Rallies Show Convergence of White Supremacism, Islamophobia

VIDEO: ACT for America is a Hate Group, Plain and Simple

Map of June 10 Anti-Muslim Protests

ACT for America has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC has named “Brigitte Gabriel” as a member of the nation’s “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”

Gabriel has argued that, “America is at stage two Islamic Cancer.” She believes “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim,” a Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States,” and that Arabs “have no soul.”

CAIR Islamophobia Monitor: ACT for America

SPLC: Anti-Muslim Inner Circle

CAIR is also urging American Muslims and Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions this weekend and is offering Muslim community leaders free copies of its booklet, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety.” The booklet may be requested through CAIR’s website: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html

The civil right organization’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., has noted an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 election.

Since the beginning of the year, CAIR has called for investigations of possible bias motives for dozens of other incidents targeting mosques in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Texas, and a number of other states. By comparison, in the January-March period in 2016, CAIR recorded 19 such incidents.

CAIR recently released a report showing a 57 percent increase in anti-Muslim incidents in 2016 over the previous year. This spike in anti-Muslim incidents was accompanied by a 44 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes during the same period.

SEE: New CAIR Report Shows More than 50 Percent Spike in Anti-Muslim Incidents

CAIR Calls on Members of Congress to Rebuke SC Representative for ‘Racist and Islamophobic’ Post

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/8/2017) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on members of Congress to rebuke South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan (R) for a racist and Islamophobic Facebook post.

Duncan posted an image of a white man, labeled “Europe,” with a hangman’s noose around his neck. The other end of the rope is tied to the trunk of a small tree, labeled “Islam.” The man is depicted watering the tree, with the clear implication that “white” Europeans are committing slow “suicide” by allowing Muslims within their borders. Duncan added his own note to the image: “Chew on this picture a little, The tree is much taller today.” He later rejected criticism of the racist and Islamophobic nature of the post.

“Representative Duncan’s clearly racist and Islamophobic message is unworthy of a member of the United States Congress and he should be rebuked by his colleagues of all political stripes,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw.

Earlier today, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and her colleagues hosted a Capitol Hill (U.S. Capitol Grounds; The House Triangle) press conference to speak out against hate and Islamophobia in the United States, and to denounce anti-Muslim protests planned by the far-right hate group ACT for America.


Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)

Rep. Joe Crowley (NY-14), Chairman, House Democratic Caucus

Rep. John Conyers (MI-13), Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)

Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-05)

Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12)

Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07)

Corey Saylor, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

“The best way for Georgia’s interfaith community to counter hate and bigotry is to embrace service and unity in a separate and safe environment,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia.

Our strength as a city and as a nation lies in our ability to love our neighbors and respect our diversity,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher.”

“The bigoted fear-mongering some choose to espouse will only make our unity stronger. We come together to prove that the opposite of hate is not mere tolerance, it’s love,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “Participants will show our City’s unshakable commitment to pluralism.  When our neighbors are under attack, we will never silently stand by.”

Message from Muslim Advocates

For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a month of reflection, prayer and fasting. But this Saturday, for Muslims in 29 cities, Ramadan will be a time of fear and concern.
That’s because a hate group has announced that it will hold anti-Muslim marches in cities across the country. The organizing pages for these marches are filled with violent memes and rhetoric targeting Muslims.
We have partnered with Center for New Community to provide direct support and guidance for communities across the country preparing to respond to the demonstrations. Together, we lead a coalition of nearly 100 allied organizations that wrote letters to the mayors of these cities urging them to stand up straight and condemn this bigotry in their communities.

Click here to join us by speaking out online.

2017 has been a year of mosque burnings, stabbings, beatings, and hateful rhetoric directed and American Muslims. But it’s also been a year of incredible support from Americans of all backgrounds who believe in religious liberty for all.

Click here to be a voice against hate during this Saturday’s anti-Muslim marches.


Madihha Ahussain, Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Muslim Advocates