If you’re like most people, you were entirely unaware that this past Friday and Saturday (October 9 and October 10) was the Global Rally for Humanity, an interstate affair of loosely affiliated individuals who basically wanted to gather outside mosques and Islamic centers and protest the fact that they existed. Yes, in our great nation that is supposedly centered around religious equality and getting to express your religion in any way you choose, some American “patriots” wanted to engage in some good old-fashioned Islamophobia.
According to the group’s sparsely populated Facebook page, “This is a Global Rally For Humanity. Humanity is attacked daily by radical Islam. Protests will be held in every country at every Mosque,” while the official count landed them at 28 rallies in the US, including one in my city. However, according to news story after news story after news story, these events weren’t well attended and many became the site of either counter protests or shows of interfaith solidarity.
I can understand why people would be upset with radical Islam. After all, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the 1979 Islamic Revolution are all examples of what leaders of radical Islam can do. In fact, any doctrine that becomes radical (like “radical patriotism” or “radical Christianity”) is very likely to be harmful and try to control others, sometimes through torture and murder. So, yes, let’s say to specific Islamic leaders and groups using Islam to justify their murderous, brutal urges that we will not tolerate them and will not bow down to them. Fair enough.
But that’s not what the “Global Rally for Humanity” targeted. They didn’t specifically go and find mosques or Islamic centers that have been linked to terrorist activities (because there aren’t any in the US). They didn’t even find any places where there have been documented cases of violence by Muslims. No, they just said, pick a mosque, publicize the location, and show up because, in their minds, any Islamic center, even one just for study, is capable of being a terrorist nest.
This is stupidity showcasing the kind of brain function that you would literally expect to find in a shrew or some other tiny animal only capable of differentiating between eating, mating, sleeping, pooping, and being afraid. As I have said before in at least one other blog post, Islam is not inherently any more evil or divisive than any other religion and it is entirely up to its practitioners to decide how they’re going to use their religion. The vast majority of the over one billion practitioners are just normal people with normal faith trying to live their normal lives. They’re not hurting anyone. They’re not plotting to hurt anyone. They just want to choose their faith without fear of reprisal – which is part of our First Amendment.
It is disgusting to see people so blatant in their hate. It is chilling to see them encourage each other to show up to Islamic centers armed. It is nauseating to see videos of people doing fake beheadings. And it’s not what a normal, rational human being would do.
Fortunately, most people agreed, either ignoring the spectacle altogether or showing their support for their Islamic community. While that does ignite just the tiniest spark of schadenfreude in my breast, it also gives me hope that we are nearing the end of 21st century America’s irrational and inchoate fear of Muslims. Fifteen years ago, that Facebook page would have blown up and even the mildest of citizens would have at least sauntered over to find out what these “true patriots” were doing. Thank God we’re collectively getting over our fear. The Muslims of America have suffered enough from our irrationality.