The head of the American Muslim Political Action Committee is defending his group's emotionally-charged decision to hold a "Million Muslim March" on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil.
Isa Hodge, executive director of the organization, said on Newmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show" the event is not strictly for Muslims.
"We are memorializing. We have people of different faiths that will be saying a prayer for the victims of 9/11 as well as the families. And also we have a moment of silence before we begin . . . the rally," Hodge said.
"We're doing that as Muslims, standing up to show that we're against terrorism, that we're speaking out against it.
"But, at the same time, we're also against the fear mongering that continues to almost 12 years since that day that has turned the word 'Muslim' synonymous with terrorists," he added.
Organizers say the march Wednesday afternoon — plans for which were stalled in previous years — is being staged to promote the civil rights of Muslims and to stop inaccurate depictions of Islam and Muslims. According to The Huffington Post
, organizers were expecting only "hundreds" to show up for the event, not the million they had hoped for.
"This is the third attempt to have a march in Washington, D.C. . . . and it was met with the same rhetoric. So basically I asked everybody the same question, what day is it OK for us as Muslim Americans to exercise our freedom of assembling and freedom of speech?" Hodge told Malzberg.
Hodge said the religion of Islam "is no different than the religion of Christianity or Judaism or Catholicism [in] that the taking of life is prohibited with the exception of self-defense and/or injustice."
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