The following was distributed at the rally in solidarity with Muslims in lower Manhattan on June 10.
The anti-Muslim organization Act for America (ACT) is preparing to hold a day of “Marches Against Sharia, for Human Rights” in dozens of U.S. cities, including New York City, this Saturday, June 10. Counter-protests have been called to show solidarity with Muslims and build a defense against the increasingly frequent attacks they face. We encourage the broadest possible participating in these solidarity protests.
ACT claims that there is a growing movement in the United States to impose Sharia (the diverse sets of interpretations of the concept of Islamic law that have been developed by Muslim theologians and applied in a variety of more and less strict ways at different times in different places). The claim that Sharia is spreading in this country and poses a particular threat to women’s rights is, of course, an absurd racist fantasy. It is meant to distract from the very real war on women’s rights that is being waged by the Trump Administration and Republican Congress. But ACT, and the attacks on the rights and lives of Muslims that it inspires, must be taken seriously.
ACT’s influence is currently entrenched at the heights of power in the U.S. government, intelligence agencies and military. President Trump’s former National Security Director, Michael Flynn, is a member of ACT’s board of advisors; current CIA director, Mike Pompeo, has spoken at its conferences and sponsored an ACT meeting at the Capitol last year; Chief White House Strategist, Stephen Bannon, has promoted its leaders and propaganda; and Trump himself, since capturing the White House, has sought to make its views the law of the land with his “Muslim travel bans,” though the courts have invalidated them – for now.
Meanwhile, the anti-Muslim violence and harassment that ACT’s fear-mongering encourages has skyrocketed since Trump began his campaign for the presidency. Most of the daily attacks faced by Muslims go unreported. Despite this, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has reported that while there were only 38 anti-Muslim “hate crimes” in 2014, there were 180 in 2015 and 260 last year.
In just the last two weeks we have seen:
• Murders in Portland. On May 26, in Portland, Oregon, a known local fascist, shouting racist and anti-Muslim slurs, accosted two women of color on a passenger train, one of whom was wearing a hijab (a headscarf worn by some Muslim women.) When witnesses rose to defend the women, the crazed racist attacked them, killing two and seriously wounding another.
• Violent Protest Against Linda Sarsour in New York. On May 25, the Democratic party’s long-time state assemblyman Dov Hikind (a racist and himself a confessed former-leader of a terrorist group, the far-right Zionist Jewish Defense League) joined alt-right neo-fascist Milo Yiannopolous and anti-Muslim bigot Pam Gellar in leading a violent protest against the City University for inviting Palestinian-American Linda Sarsour to be a commencement speaker.
Sarsour is a prominent defender of Muslims against racist attacks. The fact that she proudly wears a hijab, despite increasing threats on her life from racist fanatics, particularly enrages anti-Muslim bigots. In the face of these attacks, she deserves the greatest possible solidarity, though it must be noted that Sarsour is a typical Democratic party “community leader” who often supports both sides when it comes to opposing imperialism and oppression.
• Trump Supporters Call for Muslim Internment Camps. The June 3 terrorist attack in London by supporters of the Islamic State (ISIS) inspired anti-Muslim politicians to escalate their racist incitement. While President Trump remained conspicuously silent after the killings in Oregon, he wasted no time in responding to the London attack, taking to twitter to slander London’s Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan, as not being concerned about terrorism.
Trump’s tweets encouraged his supporters to add their own contributions. Thus Nigel Farrage, a member of Britain’s parliament known for his racist attacks on Muslims and Arabs who joined Trump in his campaign for the presidency and has since appeared with the president and his family in Washington, went on Fox News and promoted calls for Muslims to by rounded-up and placed in “internment camps.” Right-wing demagogue Michael Savage, who has been praised by Trump and hosted him on his radio show many times, echoed Farrage. “Why don’t you intern them all … It was done during World War II,” he bellowed, referring to the U.S. government’s infamous rounding-up of Japanese-Americans into concentration camps. And Stephen Bannon’s editor-in-chief of Breitbart London, Raheem Kassam, joined the calls for the mass internment of Muslims.
• Republic Congressman Calls for Mass Murder. Not satisfied by these calls for mass incarceration, Louisiana Republican Congressman Clay Higgins posted on Facebook an open call for mass murder. “The free world … all of Christendom … is at war with Islamic horror,” he declared. “Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. ... Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. … Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”
ACT’s claim that there is a growing movement to impose Sharia in the United States that especially threatens women is not only absurd, but an obvious attempt to cover the fact that there is a growing war on women’s rights that is being led by the very political forces they are a part of.
ACT’s man in the White House, Trump, has a lifetime of sexism behind him, from his promotion of “beauty pageants” to allegations against him by ex-wives and others of rape and other violent attacks. In his campaign for the presidency Trump regularly attacked women for their appearance and sexuality, and he infamously dismissed as insignificant “locker room talk” his caught on-tape bragging of sexually assaulting women by “grab[bing] them by the pussy.” And since capturing the White House he and his Republican allies have launched a barrage of attacks on women’s rights to healthcare, sex education, contraception, and the right to terminate a pregnancy if they choose. (For more on these issues, see the LRP’s International Women’s Day bulletin For a Movement that Champions the Cause of Working-Class & Oppressed Women! PDF)
Indeed ever since the September 11 terrorist attacks, anti-Muslim racism has been used by right-wing forces to rally support for U.S. imperialism’s wars abroad, and for attacks on the working class and poor at home, including attacks on basic democratic rights. The election of Barack Obama as president was celebrated by millions as signaling an end to this worsening nightmare. But after promising to end the United States’ barbaric wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as George Bush II’s Patriot Act domestic spying, he expanded them. And after promising “immigration reform,” Obama set about deporting record numbers of undocumented immigrants with laws that Trump is now using in his campaign of mass deportations.
As we wrote in 2010 at the time of the racist campaign against “the Ground Zero Mosque” that was planned to be built near the World Trade Center site:
“Contrary to Tea Party and Republican delusions that he is some kind of socialist, Obama has proven to be the supporter of capitalism that he has always said he is, and a loyal servant of the U.S. capitalist ruling class in particular. He backed the bailout of Wall Street that began under Bush while doing little to help the working class keep its head above the rising flood waters of unemployment. Similarly, Obama’s war on Muslims abroad, like Bush’s before him, is driven not by any Christian hostility to Islam but rather by U.S. capitalism’s need to dominate the oil-rich Middle East and quell mass struggles there and around the world.
“As the U.S. economy slides further toward another Great Depression … working-class people are both fearful and angry. But the leaders of the trade unions and community groups refuse to organize a massive struggle of protests and strikes against the capitalists’ efforts to make workers pay for the economic crisis. And those same leaders instead support the Democratic Party which enforces the interests of the capitalists over the workers. This leaves the working class largely unaware of its potential power to fight the capitalist attacks, if it was united in struggle. As long as workers are betrayed in these ways, xenophobic appeals to national pride and to campaigns against ‘foreigners’ will be able to maximize their appeal, particularly among the ranks of white workers.”
Indeed along the lines of our warning, it was the Democrats’ betrayals, and the continued role of their allies who control this country’s unions and community organizations in preventing mass struggles in defense of the interests of working-class and oppressed people, that paved the way for Trump to capture the White House. Now he and the Republicans are taking the war on the rights of women, Muslims, immigrants, Blacks and Latinos, and the entire working class, even further.
That’s why, as we rally in solidarity with Muslims and work to build the biggest possible united movement against all the current attacks on oppressed people, we in the League for the Revolutionary Party also say that a no-less-urgent task is to build a new political party leadership of the working class and oppressed. That new political leadership needs to be one that can be trusted not to hold-back mass struggles or moderate their demands to what the capitalist system and its rulers can afford, because it is dedicated to the system’s overthrow and the construction of a new world of freedom and abundance for all – socialism. And we appeal to interested readers to get in touch with us to discuss these ideas more.
1. Abigail Hauslohner, This group believes Islam threatens America: ‘It’s a spiritual battle of good and evil.’ Washington Post, February 18, 2017, .
2. Council on American-Islamic Relations, The Empowerment of Hate: The Civil Rights Implications of Islamophobic Bias in the U.S. 2014-2016.
3. Hikind was a prominent leader of the Jewish Defense League, which the FBI accurately described as a “right-wing terrorist group” in its report Terrorism 2000/2001 (www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/terror). It was responsible for numerous acts of murderous violence including bombings, shootings, and assaults.
4. Sarah Gabrielli and Rich Schapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos-led protest against CUNY commencement speaker Linda Sarsour turns violent, New York Daily News, May 25, 2017,
5. For example, Sarsour expresses solidarity with Palestinian victims of Zionism while defending Israel’s right to rule over Palestinian territory that it has colonized, and she supports “moderate” Zionist Democratic party politicians, even when they speak in favor of Israel’s worst crimes like its monstrous bombings of Gaza. Thus in 2014, during the Israeli bombing of Gaza that slaughtered 2,100 defenseless Palestinians, New York City’s Democratic party Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a speech to the far-right Zionist organization the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in which he declared his support for the massacre, going so far as to say that it is “part of my job description is to be a defender of Israel.” (Kate Taylor, After Private Speech on Israel, de Blasio Is Pressed on Openness Pledge, New York Times, January 24, 2014.) Yet later that year, Sarsour did not hesitate to join de Blasio at his Ramadan Iftar dinner at Gracie Mansion, later tweeting a photo of herself and the mayor, adding that she was “honored to dine with Mayor de Blasio at Gracie Mansion”(see Ikhras, Fake Activist Exposed: The Real Linda Sarsour, May 10, 2016.) And while she promotes herself as a feminist, Sarsour infamously defended Saudi Arabia’s tyrannical government from charges of sexism on the basis of the maternity leave it provides women.
6. Madeline Peltz, Conservative media call for internment of Muslims following London attacks, Media Matters, June 5, 2017; Shaun King, Trump supporters are calling for Muslim internment camps, New York Daily News, June 7, 2017.
7. Captain Clay Higgins, June 4, 2017, www.facebook.com/captclayhiggins/photos/a.655256107910738.1073741829.581436541959362/997878010315211/; Peter Holley, ‘Kill them. Kill them all’: GOP congressman calls for war against radical Islamists, Washington Post, June 5, 2017, .
8. LRP, The U.S. Is the World’s Biggest Terrorist – Down with Racism and National Chauvinism! September 2010.