This is not the first time that attendance at a Muslim rally against terrorism has been decidedly underwhelming. There are thousands of Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan, but only 100 showed up for a rally against ISIS and “Islamophobia” in November 2015. And earlier that month, only 30 Muslims protested against the jihad massacres in Paris. In July 2015, a Muslim rally in Ireland against the Islamic State drew fifty people. In October 2014 in Houston, a rally against the Islamic State organized by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) drew the grand total of ten people. In August 2013 in Boston, about 25 Muslims rallied against “misperceptions” that Islam was violent. About the same number showed up in June 2013 at a progressive Muslim rally in Toronto to claim that their religion had been “hijacked.”
And back in 2005, a group called the Free Muslims Coalition held what it dubbed a “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” intending to “send a message to the terrorists and extremists that their days are numbered … and to send a message to the people of the Middle East, the Muslim world and all people who seek freedom, democracy and peaceful coexistence that we support them.” In the run-up to the event it got enthusiastic national and international publicity, but it ended up drawing about twenty-five people.
Contrast those paltry showings to the thousands of Muslims who have turned out for rallies against cartoons of Muhammad or against Israel. Here are some headlines from the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre of Muhammad cartoonists in January 2015:
But given a chance to show how Muslims overwhelmingly reject “extremism,” only a handful show up. Yes, it was hot in Washington. But this is a pattern.
WASHINGTON — Temperatures climbing high into the 90s forced organizers to convert a midday march into an evening rally on the National Mall. But the rallying point remained the same: condemn terrorism, hate and violence.
The rally was scheduled from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, The Associated Press reported, and organizers had initially planned the rally earlier in the day, but changed the time because of the oppressive heat.
Some people in the small crowd carried signs that read “Muslims Against ISIS” and “No Racism, No Hate.” Attendees said the atrocious attacks of global terrorism have given Americans the wrong impression of Islam and it was important to speak out.
“We’re just like every other American and we’re not here to apologize for anything but here to explain this is our religion … a religion of tolerance, peace, ethics,” said Abduel Hussein, 16, of Fairfax, Vrginia [sic], and a Boy Scout from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center and a student at Woodson High School.
People at the rally listened to speeches, prayers and music.
“It’s always been said that Muslim never speaks, so this is a great opportunity for people to hear that we’re speaking out against terrorism, against violence,” said Imam Ali Siddiqui of the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia, alluding to the sometimes heard criticism that Muslim leaders don’t sufficiently condemn terror attacks.
Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Buddhist faith leaders also took part in the rally.