by Sunsara Taylor
June 9 On June 10, in dozens of cities across the country, fascists are rallying in what they call a “March Against Sharia.” These hateful rallies represent a major leap in the normalization and acceleration of anti-Muslim bigotry, government persecution, and an atmosphere that fuels vigilante violence against Muslims and the consolidation of a fascist America. These rallies dovetail with—and serve—a very sinister and central plank of the Trump/Pence fascist program: the demonization and scapegoating of a whole section of people based on their minority faith.
These anti-Muslim rallies must be drowned out by a sea of opposition declaring: NO! In the Name of Humanity—We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime! Learn about and join these counter-protests here. As you get ready to stand up against them, here are…
Five Things You Need to Know About the Anti-Muslim Fascists Rallying on June 10th:
 They claim to be against Sharia law, but really they are against all Muslims. They take the most horrific acts and extreme statements of people claiming the Muslim faith, and attribute those views to all Muslims. This is like claiming that, because extreme Christian fascists have bombed abortion clinics and murdered doctors, that all Christians everywhere are planning to do the same.
ACT! for America, the lead organization of the June 10 rallies, claims: “When Muslims make up only a small minority of a nation’s population, they wage stealth jihad. This approach allows them to infiltrate a country without setting off any alarms. Their goal is to prepare the country for the next stage of jihad. When their population increases enough Muslims start to use ‘offensive warfare,’ such as assassinations to silence critics, bombings and other violence to intimidate enemies and punish perceived slights to their religion.”
 They claim that Islam is not a religion, but a “political ideology.” In this way, they seek to legally deny Muslims the minimum protections afforded by the Constitution under the freedom of religion clause. “Islam is not even a religion; it is a political system that uses a deity to advance its agenda of global conquest,” said John Bennett, an Oklahoma Republican lawmaker who has worked closely with ACT for America. “Islam is a political ideology” that “hides behind the notion of it being a religion,” former national security adviser Michael Flynn told an ACT for America conference.
To give just one example of the implications of this, the federal courts have blocked Trump’s Muslim ban on the basis that it violates this freedom of religion clause of the Constitution. If Islam were reclassified as a “political ideology” instead of a religion, this would no longer be the case.
 They create an atmosphere that emboldens fanatical Trump supporters to carry out acts of terror and violence against Muslims and those who stand with them. They do this by demonizing and falsely portraying all Muslims as violent terrorists out to kill Americans and by falsely portraying Trump and his supporters as the besieged victims. Through this, they feed the false narrative—central to fascist movements everywhere—that their aggressive acts of violence and terror against those they demonize are actually “acts of defense.”
Jeremy Christian, the white supremacist Trump supporter accused of murdering two men in Portland after they stopped him from threatening two teenage girls, one of whom is a Muslim, voiced these same sentiments when he shouted out in court: “You call it terrorism; I call it patriotism. You hear me? Die. Death to the enemies of America. Leave this country if you hate our freedom.” He portrayed himself as a defender of a country that is under attack. The Facebook comments on the official pages for the protests are saturated with similar white supremacy and genocidal threats: “Kill all muslim terrorist in America,” “We need to reclassify islam as a terrorist hate group, not a religion. It is an evil ideology invented by a murderous, insane pedophile!!!” “Like a cancer in the body they are a cancer to our Nation.” One post showed a picture of Barack Obama in a noose with the words, “I look forward to this every day!!!” and another commenter responded, “Me too and it WILL happen. President Trump is genius!!”
 They claim to be standing up for women and LGBTQ people against Islamic fundamentalist extremists, but this is gross hypocrisy used to prettify their anti-Muslim bigotry. It is true that fundamentalist Muslims—just like fundamentalist Christians, Hindus and Jews—promote viciously oppressive views towards women and LGBTQ people. But while the June 10 organizers point the finger at fundamentalist Islam, they have no problem aligning themselves with Christian fascists or hardline Jewish fundamentalists who promote the same Dark Ages views towards women and LGBTQ people.
The founder of ACT for America, Brigitte Gabriel, for example, worked for years for the viciously woman-hating, anti-LGBTQ Christian fascist Pat Robertson. Gavin McInnes, a vicious misogynist, is scheduled to speak at the NYC June 10th rally. He has said, “Through trial and error, I learned [women] want to be downright abused.” Then there is Donald Trump, who Gabriel boasts about having a “direct line” to, who has bragged about sexual assault, and Mike Pence, who is rabidly anti-LGBTQ, fanatically anti-abortion and anti-birth control, and so Dark Ages he won’t even dine with a woman who is not his wife. Obviously, their concern is not really for women or LGBTQ people—this is just something they claim to pull the wool over the eyes of reasonable people.
 These are not “fringe fascists”—they have links to and are in sync with powerful figures who are using the power of the state to persecute Muslims.
Brigitte Gabriel has bragged that her organization, “has a direct line to Donald Trump, and has played a fundamental role in shaping his views and suggested policies with respect to radical Islam.” In February she tweeted a picture of herself with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and in March she bragged that she was meeting with the White House. ACT’s 2016 conference was attended by 10 members of Congress, including Ted Cruz. Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn, is a sitting member of ACT’s board and Walid Phares, who was a national security advisor to Trump’s electoral campaign, is a former board member of ACT. Law-makers in at least two dozen states have worked to introduce—and sometimes pass—the kind of anti-Muslim/anti-Sharia legislation ACT has worked on. In these ways and others, the scapegoating and demonization spread by the forces behind the June 10th rallies feeds and works to accelerate the escalation of state repression and persecution of Muslims.
Trump’s demonization of Muslims—his repeated attempts to violate the U.S. Constitution to ban Muslims from the country, his threats to shut down mosques, his lie that he saw Muslims cheer the 9/11 attack, his suggestion of a registry for all Muslims, and more—is right out of the fascist playbook. In Nazi Germany Hitler fused long-standing hatred of Jews with a mythology that portrayed German Jews as part of an international enemy set on corrupting German strength. In this way, through all the violence he unleashed against Jews—all the way up to genocide, Hitler portrayed himself and the German people as the victims. Today, Trump is scapegoating and unleashing both state persecution and the mob against Muslims and others he is demonizing, all while portraying himself and his fascist supporters as the besieged victims.The lesson of Nazi Germany is that fascism must be confronted and stopped, before it is too late.
The bottom line: these people are fascists. They will not go away if ignored; they must be confronted and their program must be defeated. Years from now, when your children and grandchildren ask you, “What did you do when they came for Muslims?” Make sure you can give them a good answer! Join the counter protests and join the fight to drive out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime.