Civil Rights » ADL Blogs
October 9, 2015 2

Nationwide Anti-Muslim Rallies Expected This Weekend 

The main Facebook page for the anti-Muslim rally.

The main Face­book page for the rally

Anti-Muslim big­ots have announced plans for ral­lies pri­mar­ily tar­get­ing mosques across the coun­try this week­end, rais­ing con­cerns over how big­ots can gen­er­ate atten­tion  for their cause and harm the com­mu­ni­ties they target.

Unlike more well-known anti-Muslim groups and lead­ers like the Amer­i­can Free­dom Defense Ini­tia­tive and Pamela Geller, who have planned events around the coun­try for years, this weekend’s planned ral­lies are dri­ven by a col­lec­tion of less well-known, loosely affil­i­ated individuals.

Billed as a “Global Rally For Human­ity,” the events’ pri­mary Face­book page encour­ages sup­port­ers to set up their own Face­book event pages to enable other sup­port­ers to orga­nize ral­lies where they live. The page notes, “Remem­ber to do your home­work and find a local mosque in your area so you can pub­lish the loca­tion. Good Luck and wel­come to the Global Rally For Humanity!”

The weekend’s planned ral­lies are mod­eled after a sim­i­lar rally in May orga­nized in Phoenix by Jon Ritzheimer, who encour­aged atten­dees to bring their weapons to a protest out­side of the Islamic Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in Phoenix.

Some of the ral­lies this week­end are sim­i­larly billed as “open-carry events,” which fur­ther raises con­cerns over the types of intim­i­da­tion tac­tics that might be used and the poten­tial for violence.

Ritzheimer, who has said he is orga­niz­ing one of the ral­lies this week­end, has taken to social media to deliver angry and often inco­her­ent mes­sages with under­ly­ing cur­rents of mil­i­tancy and big­otry. In a July 25 Face­book post, for exam­ple, Ritzheimer wrote: “To all my broth­ers. Be ready for vengeance and be ready to drink beer from the skulls of our enemy. I am the Infi­del Allah warned you about!”

Rizheimer was pre­vi­ously affil­i­ated with the Oath Keep­ers, an anti-government right-wing move­ment which later dis­tanced itself from his mes­sages and report­edly removed him from the group after he called for the arrest of Sen­a­tor Deb­bie Stabenow of Michigan.

Some of the ral­lies this week­end claim to be in response to the planned Nation of Islam (NOI) Jus­tice or Else Mil­lion Man March in DC, as well as a wide range of other seem­ingly unre­lated issues, includ­ing Syr­ian refugee reset­tle­ment and the Iran deal.

ADL has expressed con­cern and shared infor­ma­tion about the ral­lies with Law Enforcement.

Tags: , , , ,

September 11, 2015 1

Marching for Fairness – the NAACP Journey for Justice

After par­tic­i­pat­ing in the his­toric vot­ing rights march from Selma to Mont­gomery on March 21, 1965, Rabbi Abram­son Joshua Hes­chel famously said:

“For many of us the march from Selma to Mont­gomery was about protest and prayer. Legs are not lips and walk­ing is not kneel­ing. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even with­out words, our march was wor­ship. I felt my legs were praying.”


ADL Direc­tor of Inter­faith Affairs Rabbi David Sand­mel and NAACP Pres­i­dent and CEO Cor­nell Brooks on the road to Wash­ing­ton DC as part of the Jour­ney for Justice.


That march played a sig­nif­i­cant role in prompt­ing Con­gress to enact the land­mark Vot­ing Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) – per­haps the most impor­tant and effec­tive civil rights leg­is­la­tion ever passed.   In the half cen­tury since then, the VRA has secured and safe­guarded the right to vote for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. Its suc­cess in elim­i­nat­ing dis­crim­i­na­tory bar­ri­ers to full civic par­tic­i­pa­tion and in advanc­ing equal polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment is undeniable.

Some­times legs pray.

And some­times legs carry you to Wash­ing­ton DC to demand progress toward jus­tice and fair treat­ment for all.

Today, fifty years after the pas­sage of the VRA, and two years after a deeply trou­bling Supreme Court deci­sion that essen­tially gut­ted the heart of the leg­is­la­tion — marchers are on their way to Wash­ing­ton to demand vot­ing rights pro­tec­tions again.  The NAACP has orga­nized America’s Jour­ney for Jus­tice, which started in Selma on August 1.  The Anti-Defamation League is one of the sup­port­ing orga­ni­za­tions for the 1000-mile march, as we had sup­ported the orig­i­nal Selma to Mont­gomery march.  Then-ADL National Direc­tor Ben Epstein wrote,

“We walked together—more than 3,000 Amer­i­cans: Negroes and whites, min­is­ters, rab­bis, Catholic nuns, stu­dents, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of orga­ni­za­tions, those who belonged to no group other than the human race—all in peace­ful demon­stra­tion against blind vio­lence, in ‘gigan­tic wit­ness’ to the con­sti­tu­tion­ally guar­an­teed right of all cit­i­zens to reg­is­ter and vote.”

Jour­ney to Jus­tice cul­mi­nates in an Advo­cacy Day on the Cap­i­tal Hill on Sep­tem­ber 16.  Marchers and their sup­port­ers will have dozens of meet­ings with Mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Sen­ate.  The prin­ci­pal focal point for the lob­by­ing will be the need to address the dev­as­tat­ing impact of Shelby County v. Holder, a 2013 Supreme Court deci­sion which gut­ted a key pro­vi­sion of the VRA, dra­mat­i­cally lim­it­ing its effec­tive­ness and reach.

Last Novem­ber – the first major elec­tion since Shelby County – there were new restric­tions on vot­ing in 15 states, endan­ger­ing vot­ing rights for hun­dreds of thou­sands of Amer­i­cans. From voter ID laws that threaten to dis­en­fran­chise African Amer­i­cans, Lati­nos, stu­dents and elderly vot­ers, to cuts to early vot­ing and oner­ous require­ments for voter reg­is­tra­tion, the right to vote is in peril.

The proper response to the Shelby County deci­sion is the bipar­ti­san Vot­ing Rights Advance­ment Act of 2015 (S. 1659/H.R. 2867).  The VRAA reasserts appro­pri­ate fed­eral over­sight over efforts to change state and local vot­ing laws and pro­vides addi­tional safe­guards for voting.

Since, 1965 reaf­firm­ing the nation’s com­mit­ment to full vot­ing rights for all has never been con­tro­ver­sial.  Each time the VRA came up for reau­tho­riza­tion it has received over­whelm­ing, bipar­ti­san Con­gres­sional sup­port.  The last time Con­gress extended the VRA, in 2006, it did so after an exhaus­tive hear­ings on vot­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion and the impact of the VRA – result­ing in thou­sands of pages of doc­u­men­ta­tion.  The leg­is­la­tion passed over­whelm­ingly: 390 to 33 in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and 98–0 in the Senate.

As we have com­mem­o­rated the 50th anniver­sary of the Vot­ing Rights Act (VRA) this sum­mer, we have been reminded just how far we have come – how impact­ful the VRA has been in ensur­ing the rights of all Amer­i­cans to have their say in our democ­racy.   Jour­ney for Jus­tice marchers and their sup­port­ers are demon­strat­ing that Con­gress must do more than merely com­mem­o­rate anniver­saries of his­toric civil rights vic­to­ries.  They must act.  Now is the time for Con­gress to act to restore the pro­tec­tions of the VRA and secure the right to vote for all Americans.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

September 11, 2015 22

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller promotes anti-refugee rhetoric

“Immi­gra­tion Jihad” is a newly minted term by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller to describe the cur­rent refugee cri­sis in Europe, where thou­sands of refugees are try­ing to find a safe haven for their fam­i­lies away from the war-torn Mid­dle East.

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller

As wrench­ing images of Aylan Kurdi, a tod­dler lying dead on a Turk­ish beach after he and his fam­ily sought refuge spurred the world to take action to help save more refugees, Geller advanced her claim that the flow of refugees is a Mus­lim inva­sion that needs to be stopped. “How this new inva­sion will end is anyone’s guess – but it won’t be pretty. Today’s refugee is tomorrow’s jihadist,” Geller wrote on Sep­tem­ber 6 on World­Net­Daily (WND), a con­ser­v­a­tive website.

Geller exploits con­cern over ter­ror­ism to get an audi­ence for her anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim agenda. She equates Mus­lim refugees with ter­ror­ism and pro­motes the idea that every Mus­lim wants to wage Jihad against the West.

She wrote on Sep­tem­ber 6, “The ques­tion no one is ask­ing is why all these peo­ple, all of a sud­den? Did mil­lions of Mus­lims across the Mid­dle East and Africa get a text mes­sage that said, go now? This is clearly orches­trated, and as I pre­vi­ously reported, ISIS warned Europe of an inva­sion of ‘migrants.’ This, too, is an act of war. How many jihadists are among the hordes?”

Geller also con­nected the refugee cri­sis in Europe to the United States. She wrote on her offi­cial blog post on Sep­tem­ber 7, “This is a cau­tion­ary tale for Amer­ica. We must not allow these invaders into our coun­try. This is a hijrah, a migra­tion to Islamize a new land.”

In addi­tion, Geller’s cam­paign against refugees also recy­cles some of her anti-Obama con­spir­acy the­o­ries. In August, she accused Pres­i­dent Obama of reset­tling a large num­ber of Syr­ian refugees as part of a plot to destroy Amer­ica. She claimed, “Obama is bring­ing Mus­lim refugees into this coun­try by the hun­dreds of thou­sands in his unceas­ing pur­suit of the destruc­tion of Amer­ica.” She also called for an end to the U.S. refugee reset­tle­ment program

Geller has waged an anti-Muslim cam­paign for years by hold­ing con­tro­ver­sial events such as the “Draw Muham­mad” con­test, plac­ing anti-Muslim ads on buses, and giv­ing speeches claim­ing that Mus­lim immi­grants pose a threat to the U.S. Her increas­ing anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric not only con­tra­dicts the Jewish-American val­ues which she claims to defend but it also vio­lates basic human decency.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,