ACT for America, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, will rally against the nonexistent threat of sharia, or Islamic law in the U.S. today and along the course is expected to gather support from hundreds.
Founder Brigitte Gabriel, a Christian immigrant from Lebanon, believes, "practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Quran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America." She has said that "every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim" and that Muslims are a "natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society."
Gabriel and ACT for America have worked for years to spread fear of Muslims.
ACT for America has also long pushed the conspiracy theory that sharia law - the deeply misunderstood legal or philosophical code of Islam, interpreted differently by Muslims across the world ― poses a threat to the U.S. Constitution.
The "March Against Sharia" will take place in more than 20 cities, including New York, Dallas, and Atlanta reported NBC News.
ACT for America, which has over 525,000 members and has boasted of its close ties to President Donald Trump, is organizing the marches.
As of late Friday, 100 to 200 people had said on Facebook that they will join the Act for America gathering, which is set to begin at noon at the State Capitol. More than 400 had indicated they will join the counter-protest. Among the latter's endorsing groups are Students for a Democratic Society, the Antiwar Committee, Young Muslim Collective and Women Against Military Madness.
[Brigitte Gabriel rants against Islam and her onus to save the Western civilization via Facebook]
The convergence of anti-Muslim groups and other fringe organizations is a growing phenomenon, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted.
SPLC trawled through all the local "March Against Sharia" Facebook groups and compiled an extensive list of extremist groups and white supremacists who said they will be showing up at the marches on Saturday, according to the Huffington Post.
They found a slew of armed anti-government militia groups, some with histories of threatening government officials. The groups claim they'll be providing "security" at the rallies, which means they'll likely show up with guns. Often called "Patriot" groups, they include the Oathkeepers, the III Percenters and American Civil Defense.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), a Muslim civil rights organization, said Friday night that it's encouraging people to join the counter-protests as part of several "anti-hate events" planned for Saturday.
In addition, it is inviting protesters to tour a nearby mosque, the Minnesota Dawah Institute at 478 University Av. W., St. Paul, later in the afternoon. And from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, it is inviting the public to a "Unity Iftar," a dinner that breaks the Ramadan fast, at the Cedar Cultural Center, 504 Cedar Av., Minneapolis.
American Muslim groups and their supporters say that views of ACT for America are based on a gross and prejudiced misunderstanding of what sharia is and how it is manifested in different cultures. They have accused it of racism and Islamophobia.
Interfaith protesters across the country are planning counter-demonstrations at the "March Against Sharia" events.
On Friday, 129 organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, Amnesty International and the Center for New Community, sent a letter to mayors in the 29 cities where the marches are scheduled, calling on them to "reject" Act for America's "bigotry," and to "issue an official statement to reiterate to the people of your city that every person is welcome."
According to the Gallup Organization, almost half of U.S. Muslims reported instances of discrimination, and marches like this certainly embolden people, if not to do something illegal.
But there are darker fears as well. We're hearing reports from across the country of people killed, beaten, or injured for no other reason than that they were suspected of being Muslim. Such crimes surged 67 percent last year according to a study by CNN.
[Featured Image by arindambanerjee/Shutterstock]