Several local interfaith leaders stand united against this weekend’s planned “March Against Sharia” rally.
“We stand with our Muslim neighbors,” said Rev. Carol Jensen, co-chair of the Faith Action Network.
Rev. Jensen was joined by other pastors, rabbis, and local elected officials in denouncing the ACT for America event Saturday in downtown Seattle.
The alt-right group canceled a rally in Portland the same day after its mayor accused the of hate speech and re-opening the emotional wounds from a fatal hate-crime last month.
“We will speak out against hate speech,” continued Jensen. “We will speak out for a positive role that Muslims play in our community.”
Rev. Terry Kyllo, Director of Neighbors In Faith, pointed out the Southern Poverty Law Center called ACT for America a hate group.
“They use a lot of deceptive messaging that is simply not true,” he said. “Messaging that makes people fearful that Muslims are trying to take away the religious freedom of other people in this country, when that is in fact not true.”
Last month in Westlake Park, a self-proclaimed pro-USA group held a rally on May Day. Now many of the same participants plan to return this weekend. Anthony Parish, a Kent man who is a member of ACT for America, is organizing the event. He insisted he is not anti-Muslim, just against some of the teachings of Islam.
Aneelah Afzali, director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network, said ACT for America twists what sharia law is to make it seem extreme to the American public.
“Sharia simply means me practicing things like praying five times a day, me being kind to my parents, repelling evil with good,” she said.
Some of the religious leaders plan to attend a counter-rally Saturday.