WASHINGTON – House Democrats shunned this weekend’s “March Against Sharia” protests in 23 cities across the country and urged the White House to denounce these events. And Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison was at the front of the line.
“We need to stand up together against the protests. We reject these marches for hate,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) during a press conference Thursday outside of the Capitol focused on denouncing today’s protests organized by ACT for America.
“We will not allow these hateful, divisive groups like those organizing this weekend to intimidate our Muslim brothers and sisters – to intimidate us from standing tall for justice,” Schakowsky added.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said there is not one area of the U.S. where Sharia law is mandated on the American people. He advised the public not to ignore the planned marches in the hopes that they will eventually stop.
“Why are they doing it? They want to make people fearful of their Muslim neighbors,” Ellison said of the protests. “These people are actually trying to push their version of their religion on everybody else – that’s actually what’s happening. They’re the ones trying to restrict contraception access based on their religious values and not the individual who may or may not want that product.”
Ellison, deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said the protest participants are the kind of people who do not want to purchase products or services from members of the LGBT community based on their religion.
“I’m not surprised that you have these anti-Sharia marches,” he said. “These are the folks who are imposing their religion on America. No Sharia law that I’ve seen,” he added.
Ellison called on “Donald Trump and President Steve Bannon” to “stand up and denounce” the planned anti-Sharia marches.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said America is a nation of many religions and cultures and “it makes us strong.” She predicted that the protests are going to be “total failures” because Democrats are uniting against hatred.
“I live across the street from a mosque. They are my friends. They are our lawyers, they are pharmacists, they are doctors, they are small-business owners, they are the heart and soul of our community,” she said. “This latest attempt on Saturday to organize and divide us with fear and hatred is unacceptable and must be denounced. We have to stand up as Americans against what they are trying to do.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said Seattle residents are going to come together in “solidarity and love” as the protests spread “hate and misinformation” about Muslims.
“America is better than this hate. We know the real America,” she said. “We commit to drown it out. We will not be intimidated, and today we are here to pledge that we will double down on our moral obligation to fight injustice and to hold this administration accountable for its role in furthering hate.”
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said every elected official should reject the marches.
“Whatever the excuse is, it’s all about bigotry,” he said. “Those people are not Americans. They are not living up to American values. We are here to protect everyone and make sure everyone gets to live the American dream.”
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) and a representative from the Council on American-Islamic Relations also joined the group of Democrats in condemning the protests.