Anti-Muslim marches held in several US cities

Right-wing marchers have taken to the streets in several cities across the United States for the National March Against Sharia, an anti-Muslim campaign that has been roundly criticised by rights groups and watchdogs. Responding to a call by ACT for America, march participants came out in at least 28 cities in some 20 states on Saturday. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has described ACT for America as an “extremist” organisation and the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the country.
Founded in 2007 and boasting of more than 500,000 members, the group is one of many that support US President Donald Trump. Its members have campaigned for strict legislation that targets Muslims and refugees in recent years. In an executive order that has been frozen by courts, Trump has attempted to ban travellers from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. The order is slated to be considered by the Supreme Court. In a report published last year, CAIR examined what it calls the “Islamophobia industry”. Between 2008 and 2013, the report found, ACT for America was one of 33 anti-Muslim groups that had access to more than $204m in revenue. Brigitte Gabriel, ACT for America’s founder, is a Lebanese American who has in the past accused the Muslim Brotherhood political movement of conspiring to conquer the US. She has also referred to Arabs as “barbarians” and claimed they have “no soul”. Nathan Lean, author of The Islamophobia Industry, described ACT for America as part of “a network of bigots” that has promoted anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years. “That sense of fear has not only led to the adoption of legislation that discriminates against Muslims, but has, in my opinion, spurred a smattering of hate crimes and other acts of violence and intimidation online and in the public that create a very dangerous situation for American Muslims,” he told Al Jazeera.
Between 2013 and 2015, at least 10 anti-Muslim laws were enacted by state legislatures, according to CAIR. An addition 81 bills or amendments targeting Muslims were introduced during the same time period. Last year alone, CAIR documented 260 anti-Muslim hate crimes and 2,213 bias incidents aimed at Muslims.

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