A scene from an anti-Islam rally in 2015.
A scene from an anti-Islam rally in 2015.
Miriam Wasser

Trouble in Paradise Valley Park? March Against Sharia Comes to Phoenix This Weekend

Who can get more people to stand outside for several hours on a 102-degree day: gun-toting Islamophobics or liberal snowflakes chanting about peace and love?

We'll find out Saturday when the March Against Sharia comes to town. The Phoenix event is one of several dozen rallies taking place across the country Saturday; it is scheduled to take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Paradise Valley Park.

The nationwide anti-Islam rallies are led by ACT for America, a Virginia-based extremist group which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as "the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America."

Here's how ACT for America describes its message:

"This is a march against Sharia law and for human rights. Our nation is built on the freedom of religion — a pillar of our democracy — which we must always respect, protect, and honor. However, many aspects of Sharia law run contrary to basic human rights and are completely incompatible with our laws and our democratic values.

We, at ACT for America, are committed to protecting women and children from Sharia Law and its impact on Muslim women and children including honor killing and Female Genital Mutilation. We must ensure that every woman and child enjoy the protection afforded by the U.S. Constitution."

In a call to action asking their members to attend the march, Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, encourages supporters to "come armed wherever you can do so legally."

They also note that ACT for America "has specifically asked that volunteer security carry concealed rather than open-carry, even where open-carry is legal. They prefer this so their events do not present too militaristic an image."

Attendees are also encouraged to wear body armor and helmets, which in Phoenix seems like a really good way to get heatstroke.

Oath Keepers also informs its members that rally organizers ask that attendees not wear brown shirts, "to help avoid giving the leftist media an easy way to attack us all as somehow being fascists just because of the color of our clothing."

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the park, long-shot Senate candidate Deedra Abboud — who recently had one of her campaign events picketed by anti-Muslim protesters — will be holding a counterdemonstration titled "Love Fest: Rally For Unity."

"We are planning to have a large showing of love visuals in the same neighborhood (north and east edge of Paradise Valley Park) from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. — so we can soak the neighborhood in love before the hate (and heat) moves in," she writes on Facebook.

"We do this as a revolutionary act of resistance against forces that would divide us as a nation. We will come out to prove that out of many we are one, and no amount of hatred can conquer the hearts and minds of those who live with love in their hearts."


So far, more people have indicated on Facebook that they plan to attend the Love Fest than have RSVPed for the March against Sharia — or "Hate Fest," as Abboud refers to it.

There's also a third alternative: The local Ahmadiyya Muslim community plans to hold a open house at its mosque in Chandler, which includes an Iftar dinner at 7:00 p.m.


Event Details:

Saturday, June 10

Love Fest: Rally For Unity
9 to 11 a.m.
18380 North 40th Street (by Maricopa County Superior Court)

March Against Sharia
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
17642 North 40th Street (by the community center at Paradise Valley Park)

Open House at Baitul Aman Mosque- 7 p.m.
2035 W. Elliot Road, Chandler.

Facebook page for the March Against Sharia
Facebook page for the Love Fest: Rally For Unity
Facebook page for Baitul Aman Mosque open house and Iftar dinner

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