The Masjid Muhammad mosque at 1519 4th St. NW was one of several mosques and Islamic community centers across the country warned by law enforcement of possible protests. The protests are being planned by a group calling itself Global Rally for Humanity, which argues that Islam presents a threat to all of humanity. The group had rallies scheduled for this weekend in 20 cities in the U.S.
The D.C. rally was scheduled to take place at Masjid Muhammad mosque Friday or Saturday, but the Facebook event for the rally has been deleted. Sultan Muhammad, a spokesperson for the mosque, said that he’s not sure if the rally will still be held, but are working with local and federal officials to bolster security in preparation for possible protests.
“The most recent update that I have to get clarified is that the list of sites where the protests are scheduled has diminished, but we don’t know which places,” Muhammad said this afternoon. “For us, we’re going to remain in heightened awareness in regards to the protest here.”
Earlier today, the mosque posted on its Facebook page warning that a demonstration could take place at any time on Friday or Saturday.
“Imam Talib SHareef and the MM Board of Advisors urge all members and visitors to avoid any contact and/or confrontation with these demonstrators,” the notice said. The post also acknowledged that the protestors will likely be trying to provoke a reaction from the congregants.
The Center for New Community, a Chicago-based organization that tracks racist and nativist movements in the U.S., and which has been monitoring the Rally for Humanity events, said on its website that a demonstration in the District is possible but not confirmed.
There is a separate anti-Muslim rally planned for the National Mall on Saturday as a counter to the rally commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March. More than 100 people have joined a Facebook event for that protest.
Muhammad said that the mosque has been contacted by many neighbors and other faith groups in the area offering any assistance with handling the protests. He added that whether or not there is a demonstration, the planned one gives members of the mosque congregation an opportunity to reflect on how to best approach anti-Islamic sentiment.
“In any event, these kind of situations always are a good education tool for our younger folks to see how we handle things in a less aggressive manner and good opportunities to teach people how to properly address these things,” he said.
Photo via Facebook/ Masjid Muhammad DC
Despite living across the country from my family, I’m actually pretty lucky. I’m not as disconnected as I thought I would be. I talk to my parents regularly (without a choice, really) and, as I’ve gotten older, our conversations have transformed.
Now — instead of only lectures — my dad likes to debate and, apparently, I’ve become someone worthy of his intellect.
My dad and I have great debates because we think so differently. I listen to his advice now, but for most of my life I’ve done what I want. And, therefore, we have a different belief system.
Our most frequent debates center around my life decisions or my opinions regarding Islam and Iran.
My dad rarely talks about Iran, if ever. His childhood stories come in random spurts and when they do it’s like a glimpse into this side of him that my family and I barely recognize.
Don’t even get me started on his reaction when we discuss Islam. He just gets a scowl on his face and says, “This is a ridiculous conversation topic, Islam is ridiculous — I don’t vant to talk about it.”
I’m the opposite — I obsess about Iran. I stare at pictures all day, I talk about going back all the time, much to my dad’s dismay. And when it comes to Islam, I emphasize my opinion that people have the right to choose their beliefs.
I thought my dad’s “disdain” toward Iran was because I had chosen to focus on it so much in both my identity and in my professional goals. I thought his aversion to all things Iran really had a double meaning — and that secretly, he just didn’t support my desire to pursue any field affiliated with Iran because I would never become a doctor, lawyer or engineer.
I thought my dad was being negative and not supportive, but it didn’t take me long to realize that he thought he was protecting me.
Our (my) parents came here to live the “American Dream” — they came here for more opportunities and to provide their children with those same opportunities that weren’t offered to them when they were our age. I feel like, when I talk about wanting to go to Iran or visit new places like Egypt, my dad feels like I am keeping myself from achieving the American Dream: The promised American life without conflict or danger.
And frankly, my dad carries a lot of bitterness toward Islam, it’s what many of our parents blame for what Iran has turned into. While I think the blame should be more targeted, I get it. There’s an underlying sense of resentment.
My dad came here for equal opportunity — the ability to become successful and have access to freedom. Sometimes I think that maybe my ambitions threaten his sense of security. Like I’m about to screw myself of all the opportunities that he worked so hard to obtain for me.
Or maybe I’m just over analyzing my control freak of a dad.