So marches against “Sharia law” are happening as I type. Fortunately, these marches celebrate the diversity of opinion regarding the interpretation of the Koran and the discussion among Muslims about what Sharia means.
Pawl Bazile, who runs Proud Boy, a far-right online magazine, spoke next. “We understand what Islam is, and we say no,” he said to cheers. “You’re in the land of Budweiser and bikinis, for God’s sake.” Anyone who doesn’t like it can move to Saudi Arabia or Syria, he said.
Men wearing T-shirts affiliated with the Oath Keepers, which the SPLC has labeled as a “radical antigovernment” group, stood by within the crowd and around the perimeter, fingering walkie-talkies and surveying the crowd.
Frank Morganthaler, the vice president of the New York State Oath Keepers, said the smaller turnout may have been the result of some people being “intimidated” by the threat of violence from opposition protesters. “These people go wild,” he said, glancing across the street. “They’re crazy. We’ve seen what they’ve done in other cities, breaking windows and other stuff.”
A dozen young white men with tucked-in dress shirts, sunglasses and slicked-down side-parts stood in back, watching. They identified themselves as “the alt-right,” a small, far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state.
The complexity of thought is on display:
The group’s leader, Brigitte Gabriel, says that she is anti-sharia, not anti-Muslim. But she and other group leaders often fall back on the argument that all practicing Muslims adhere to sharia. Gabriel and her organization did not respond to requests for comment.
“Not all Muslims are bad,” she told a Fox News anchor in an interview this week. But the country needs to have “a difficult conversation,” she said. “What does Islam as a political ideology have to do with what the terrorists are doing right now?”
A First Amendment protecting us from religion separates us from Europe. I thought these so-called constitutionalists should know.
Any Miami-Dade participants can email or send me a private message about appearing at the next Pride parade or, if not, how to donate to causes protecting queer youth. Then I’ll judge the sincerity of their concern for genital mutilation and gays.