Rally against Islam outnumbered by counterprotesters

Print More
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 3.12.36 PM

DEARBORN, Mich. — About a dozen people, some armed with rifles, showed up for an anti-Islam rally over the weekend, outnumbered by two groups of counterprotesters.

Waving American flags and holding up signs that read “Stop the Islamization of America” and “ISIS Is Evil,” the protesters gathered outside Henry Ford Centennial Library and said they were demonstrating against radical Islam. It was one of about 20 weekend rallies planned near mosques across the U.S. The organizers wanted to protest against the Nation of Islam’s “Justice or Else” event, held in Washington, D.C., and against what they said is the threat of the Muslim faith.

Marcia Bodary of Mt. Clemens held up a sign that read: “No More Refugees,” expressing concern about Syrian refugees coming to America.

“We’re taking in too many refugees,” she said. “We don’t know who they are. It’s impossible to vet them … Don’t overwhelm us. We can’t afford it.”

The anti-Islam protesters, who support open-carry rights, were met with two groups who opposed their message: members with a communist group and supporters of open-carry who said they wanted to express solidarity with Muslims.

Several protesters and counter-protesters brandished AK47 or AR15 rifles. City officials had said were worried about the event, but it went smoothly with no arrests, Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad and Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly Jr. said after the rally.

“That’s democracy, that’s America,” O’Reilly said of the protests. O’Reilly said he hopes the protesters realized that Dearborn, where many residents are Muslim, is not a radical place. The city has dealt with several anti-Islam protests over the past five years.

“They came here and saw: there’s no threat to them,” he said. “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

O’Reilly and community leaders had been urging people not to show up to confront the protesters. Their message was heard, with only about 30 counterprotesters showing up.

Area Muslims and Arab-Americans participated in other already planned events to help communities, including feeding and clothing needy people at the Muslim Center in Detroit.

Most of the anti-Islam protesters declined to give their names. The administrator of the Facebook page who organized the Dearborn event also has not given his name.

Jon Ritzheimer, an Arizona man with the anti-government group Oath Keepers who had threatened to arrest U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan over her support of the Iran deal, was one of the leaders who instigated the nationwide protests, said the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The communist group that counter-protested in Dearborn held up signs that read “No to Anti-Islam Bigots” and “Unity Yes! Racism No!” while chanting “Stop Terrorizing Muslims at Home and America” and “Hey hey, ho ho, racist fascists got to go.”

The open-carry group that supported Muslims said it wanted to send a message that open-carry proponents are not bigots. One couple from Cadillac who support gun rights but opposed the anti-Islam message had guns painted red, white and blue along with patriotic shirts colored like an American flag.

“I’m here today to protest the Islamophobic protesters that are here bearing arms,” said Rekab Semaj of Oakland County, who had an AK47 rifle slung over his shoulder and a sign reading “Muslims Deserve Freedom.”

“My message is that liberty is for everyone, that liberty has no borders … Just because someone is of a certain religion does not mean they are dangerous. Just because the fact I’m a gun owner, does not mean I am inherently dangerous.”

A handful of Muslims debated with the anti-Islam protesters about religion and extremism. The protesters were inside a fenced area set up by Dearborn Police, who kept a close eye on the rallies.

Dearborn Police Chief Haddad said of the protest: “I’m very proud of our community. Our mayor asked them to stay home, and they stayed home,” largely ignoring the anti-Islam demonstrators.

“Democracy worked the way it was supposed to,” Haddad said. “Both sides did the right thing. They were civil. … That’s what this country is all about.”

(Warikoo reports for the Detroit Free Press.)


  • Pingback: Rally against Islam outnumbered by counterprotesters - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • Jack

    I’d like to lock the anti-Islam bigots, radical Islamists, and Communists in a room for a few days and let them finish each other off.

  • Mohammed

    I’m sorry to say this but the spectacles of hate need to be removed. I dare anyone on here to google Islamic research foundation and spend a few minutes looking at what you find. I am sure that you will find that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, justice, kindness, charity, love and worshiping one God.

    The prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) was verbally abused, ridiculed, had objects thrown at him, spat at and even beaten. He reacted by having mercy on people and treating them with patience and kindness throughout his life.

    When we differ in our opinions, we shouldn’t be abusive or threatening. This was not the way of the prophet Mohammed ( PBUH) with believers and disbelievers. Thank you.

    You really should have gone to specsavers.

  • Jack

    No it doesn’t, “Handsome Jack.”

    And by the way, make up your mind on what your real opinion is. If you want to claim that all or most Muslims want to “implement Sharia law,” then say so under your more commonly used name.

  • Garson Abuita

    Are we allowed to know the name of the communist counter-protest group? I ask because of last week’s article complaining that although so few of the US incidents from 1980 to 2005 classified as terrorism by the FBI were perpetrated by Muslims, they still get stuck with the terrorist label more than, for example, domestic right-wing incidents. A close look at the list shows that many of the incidents were international and domestic communist and anti-communist attacks, often more associated with the 1970s.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Do you even know what “Sharia Law” is? Is is merely the involvement of persons with authority in a religious sect to settle disputes. The Catholics do in annulling bad marriages. The Jews do it in settling estates. When a child is removed from its home for its own protection, often preachers who provide spiritual counseling for abusive parents testify on their behalf. Depite the lies one hears from the likes of Glen Beck and the other snake oil salesmen, that’s all it is. Do you think somehow Muslims are less deserving of religious counsel than Christians or Jews? If so, why?

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Oh, I’m sure you could be, but it’s not very important. The Detroit News story i found on it does not name them:


    However, i will bet you dollars to donuts it’s “communist” with a small c as in the “Revolutionary Communist Party” which is despite the name neither revolutionary, nor communist, nor a party, but more like a cult. These splinter groups have no connection to Putin or Peking or even Pnom Penph. They are self-actualized rabble rousers who’ve read a little Marx and Lenin and think this’s Leningrad in 1917. They perform as leftists, as the story indicates, primarily in attempts to recruit lke souls. The pornographer Susie Bright wrote about her years as a teenage runaway in the RCP in her book “Big Sex Little Death.”