The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, has said it will not participate in or endorse the “Million American March Against Fear” on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“We’re concerned that the event has aligned itself with so-called 9/11 truthers,” Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, told Al Arabiya.
He was referring to those who express doubts about the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.
Hooper said it was unlikely that any mainstream Muslim-American organization would participate in the march, which is being organized by the American Muslim Political Action Committee.
AMPAC founder MD Rabbi Alam told Al Arabiya that the aim of the event, in Washington DC, is “to stand for the rights of Muslims,” and to “change the negative perception of Muslims in America.”
The event was originally named the “Million Muslim March,” but was changed in February to include a larger number of people, Alam said.
The campaign has caused a storm in the U.S. media, with reports that it is being led by radicals.
“Whether or not al-Qaeda is completely mythical, the so-called ‘Islamic terrorist threat’ is pure hallucination,” reads a statement on AMPAC’s website.
“The whole ‘terrorist threat’ is a hoax invented by fear-mongering politicians to control our minds and pick our pockets,” the statement added.
The campaign announced on its Facebook page that Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus from Missouri, would attend the rally.
However, Michele Rooney, Cleaver’s communications director, denied this, telling Al Arabiya in an email: “MD Rabbi Alam is a constituent of Missouri’s Fifth District - and per his request - the Congressman was happy to meet with him in his Kansas City office last week.”
Distasteful and offensive
Many see the timing of the event as distasteful and offensive.
The rally is “exploitative,” seeking to take advantage of the Sept. 11 attacks to “blame America for their so-called complaints of Islamophobia,” said Zuhdi Jasser, a prominent Islamic scholar and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, who frequently writes for the Huffington Post.
“It’s put together by groups that are proven ‘truthers’ who deny that 9/11 was committed by al-Qaeda,” and who are “profoundly anti-Semitic,” he added.
AMPAC’s hard-line ideas are “a symptom of the deeper problem of the continuous threat of radical Islam and political Islam domestically and globally in radicalizing Muslim populations,” said Jasser.
“If Muslims have grievances they want heard, pick any other day but 9/11,” which was “about America being attacked by a radical Islamist group, al-Qaeda, that continues to threaten us,” he added.