What was billed last February as a "Million Muslim March" on the 12th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks turned out to be barely more than a dozen attendees listening to speakers denouncing what they called a culture of anti-Muslim hatred in America.
James Barrett, national spokesman for American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC), was unperturbed by the minuscule attendance at the rally despite the initial hype.
"This is a long-term project aimed at uniting Americans to reject the politics of fear and hatred," Barrett, who was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the logo www.dc911truth.org, told Newsmax.
The event drew criticism for its timing and that its main speaker, M.D. Rabbi Alam, is a "9/11 Truther," or someone who claims the government was behind the Sept. 11 attacks. Activist and Cornell University philosophy professor Cornel West joined Alam onstage at the rally.
Alam called for people to "stand up against the propaganda coming from Hollywood about Islam" and from "the government, who march us into wars for their own selfish purposes, against fictional organizations and individuals."
A far more successful rally was organized by the "2 Million Bikers to D.C." With motorcyclists coming from as far as Washington State and Oregon, thousands of bikers set out in the morning from eight different locations around D.C. to ride into the city to mark the anniversary.
Even a counter-rally organized by unnamed fundamentalist Christians outnumbered the Muslim march.
As for the bikers who filled the streets of Washington in counter-protest, they had a decidedly different view of the events of 9/11.
Sean, who works on Capitol Hill and asked not to have his last name included, told Newsmax that the goal of their ride was "not a counter to the other rally," but was to honor those who died.
"Many of us are veterans and we support the First Amendment, their right to gather. This is a very sacred day and a time to reflect on what happened," said Sean, who was driving by the Pentagon on the morning of the attacks and saw the explosion in his rear-view mirror.
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