Muslim Day Parade Hijacked by Islamic Thinkers Society Extremists

Sheila Musaji

Posted Sep 11, 2007      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Muslim Day Parade Hijacked by Islamic Thinkers Society Extremists

by Sheila Musaji

The vast majority of American Muslims are caught between the Islamophobes and the Muslim extremists.  Both of these groups shout their message, and the traditional, moderate Muslims are unable to get their message out no matter how hard they try.

The 22nd Annual Muslim Day Parade, sponsored by the Muslim Foundation of America, was held in New York on September 9, 2007, and was a prime example of the difficulty we are in as a community. 

Thousands of Muslims turned out to parade down Madison Avenue in New York.

The ceremony preceding the parade included singing the national anthem, and the parade itself was led by a group from the Association of Muslims in Law Enforcement.  Speakers at the end of the parade route included a representative of the Mayor of New York reading a proclamation declaring September 9, 2007 Muslim American Day in New York City.  An official banner used in the parade included the American Flag, and at least one participants sign read “For God and Country - Allah bless America”.  The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) participated in a moment of silence for the victims of the 9/11 attacks at Sunday’s “Muslim Day Parade” in that city. 

According to the Muslim Foundation of America mission statement:  The Parade’s purpose is to bring communities of various ethnic and religious groups together to promote a better understanding of Islam and to establish interfaith cooperation between Muslims and all other religious/community groups.

For weeks ahead of the parade, Americans Against Hate (an ironic name) and the United American Committee published requests for protestors to meet at the parade and to write their public officials to ask them not to allow the parade to take place.  They called on their supporters to turn out at the Parade to Defend your Nation and Western Civilization against this “outrage”.

Mayor Bloomberg had been bombarded with demands not to allow the parade, but he rejected this campaign and said in a letter explaining his decision:  “It would be a terrible mistake for anyone to implicate a whole group of innocent individuals—no matter what their faith—with the terrible acts committed on September 11, 2001.”

The UAC published a statement that read in part:  “The United American Committee, America’s largest educational grassroots organization against the threat of radical Islam, is planning a counter protest on Sunday, September 9th of an annual parade in New York City which in years past has attracted thousands of Islamist extremists carrying signs and chanting for the destruction of America.” 

There was some confusion over the date of the parade, and who would be the Grand Marshall.  This confusion probably could have been avoided with a little more organization and communication on the part of the organizers, but even this was exploited by the Islamophobes who attempted to paint it as some sort of sinister conspiracy.

The Parade has in the past been held on the last Sunday of September, but has been moving forward in the calendar, and this year was moved to Sunday, September the 9th.  This caused some to speculate wildly about why the date had been changed to fall so close to September 11th. 

Imam Shamsi Ali, co-chairman of the parade said the parade customarily was held on the last Sunday in September. For the past three years, the timing of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, forced the change. He said the earlier date gives Muslims a chance to commemorate the 9/11 attacks, and that this year’s parade will begin with a prayer and moment of silence for the victims.

Originally the Muslim Day Parade site advertised that Keith Ellison would be the Grand Marshall, but this did not happen, and the flier advertising this was changed to one with a photo of a mosque. 

“Contrary to reports circulating widely in conservative publications and blogs in recent days, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison will not be the grand marshal of the Muslim parade in New York next month, according to his office.  The freshman Democrat from Minneapolis was never scheduled to be there, said Brian Elliot, district director for Ellison.  Elliot said the congressman “was equally surprised” when he learned the buzz that he would be the grand marshal for the 22nd Annual Muslim Day Parade in New York City, which is scheduled for Sept. 9. Ellison “declined the offer to be the grand marshal a long time ago because he has other obligations in the district,” said Elliot.

If the UAC is “the largest grassroots ...  ” then the 20 protestors they were able to turn out says a lot about their influence.  There were only a handful of protestors, but they were loud and gave themselves a lot of publicity by circulating their comments all over the blogsphere.  The protestors also took highly selective photographs and published those.  The only photographs they published were of an even smaller fringe group of extremist Khawarij Muslims from a group called the Islamic Thinkers Society (another ironic name). 

The Islamic Thinkers Society are photographed displaying posters reading - “The Holocaust was a hoax” - “Muslims against Democracy and Western Values” -  a sign calling for Khilafah -  “Work for Peace - Ban the Talmud”, etc.  They seem to be responsible for all the nasty signs that were photographed and widely published by Islamophobic groups.

The Islamic Thinkers website had a notice posted a few days before the parade that:  “The Islamic Thinkers Society will be there this Sunday, September 10, 2006 at the Annual Muslim Day Parade(click to go to website) to give authentic da’wah to the moderate and confused Muslims who will be there. This year, our theme will focus on: al-walaa’ wal baraa’, Nationalism, Muslims Against Western Values, working to re-establish the Khilafah, and corrupt scholars/rulers who are the real obstacle into the revival of Islam world-wide. We will be there from 12:00 noon until it finishes. If there are any conscious Muslims who do see problems with the Muslim communities viewpoint in America and their understanding of Islam and their negligence to fulfill their obligations living in the West, and the path they are heading, please join us.”  They also have a list of “scholars to be avoided” which seems to be a list of most of the respected, traditional scholars in the U.S.  So, it would appear that this was also a protest group made up of confused Muslims who were also protesting the leadership of the parade.  Why then are they the only ones photographed, giving the impression that they were the main focus of the parade?  If anyone cares to look carefully at the photos you will notice that they, and their signs are also behind a police “gate” like the rest of the protestors.

I checked out the Islamic Thinkers Society site and was happy to read that “We are less than a handfull of Muslims from Ahlus Sunnah wal jama’ah who give public da’wah to society ...”  And, it appears that a handful of these nut jobs showed up to exercise their free speech rights in the same way as the handfull of nut jobs from Americans Against Hate and the United American Committee.  I consider them both two sides of the same extremist coin.  The tragic thing is that their fringe “craziness” is what receives the most attention and press. 

However, because the Islamic Thinkers Society nut jobs are Muslim and making such un-Islamic claims and defaming all of the thousands of Muslims present at the parade as well as the millions of American Muslims we need to speak out loudly and clearly against their extremist views.  Although few in number their extremist statements and misrepresentation of Islam is seriously endangering all the Muslims in America.  We need to be clear that in the words of the Pakistani song denouncing terrorism - Yeh Hum Nahin - This Is Not Us!!!

These are Khawarij (extremists) and what they promote is a perverted version of Islam.  Even if they are few in number, they are dangerous.  If they are truly against democracy and Western values then they should not be in this country.  If they (falsely) believe that the world is divided into dar al harb and dar al Islam and do not recognize dar al ahd (house of treaty) then they should not be in this country.  If they are Muslims and are in this country on a visa or with a green card then they have an obligation under Sharia to honor the laws of this country as they have entered into a binding agreement by accepting the visa or green card. 

Since, we have no authority to force them to leave, the least we can do as Muslims is to speak out loudly and clearly and denounce them and their perverted interpretation of Islam.  We need to make it clear to them and to all the Muslims that this will not be tolerated. 

I hope that the leadership of all the organizations that were involved in sponsoring this Muslim Day Parade will speak out on this issue and that they make it clear that the Islamic Thinkers Society was not an official part of the parade and that their views are not acceptable.  I also hope that in the future more care is taken to control such a public event so that there are not opportunities for those just looking for some “problem” with Muslims to find such an easy target.  At the very least there should be a committee set up wih individuals ready and able to issue immediate press releases and respond to such events. 

If our leadership is not willing to speak up, then ordinary Muslims are going to have to do so more loudly than ever.  It makes no sense for us to allow a handful of extremists to become the focus of those wishing to demonize all Muslims.  How can a handful of extremists gain more publicity than thousands of Muslims at this event?

UPDATE 10/13/2008

Robert Spencer published an article Caliphate dreams in New York’s Muslim Day Parade, in which he shows photos of 2 signs held up by members of the Islamic Thinkers Society at one of the Muslim Day Parades and says It’s also interesting that Sheila Musaji, the editor of The American Muslim, told me Friday, “I don’t know any American Muslims who are not staunch defenders of the separation of church and state (the non-establishment of religion).” Then two days later a group of Muslims in New York marched in the Muslim Day Parade with signs calling for the replacement of the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law. Ms. Musaji, you really ought to get out more. 

Actually, I didn’t tell him anything, I published an article What exactly is required to be considered a “moderate” Muslim? responding to a previous article by Spencer regarding my view of the showing of the film Obsession in St. Louis. 

I wrote about this Muslim lunatic fringe group a year before Spencer published this article.

UPDATE 12/4/2011

Robert Spencer’s partner, Pamela Geller Recycles Old News to Malign All American Muslims.

The article below was published in September of 2007.  This is old news, and the members of the tiny Muslim lunatic fringe groups Islamic Thinkers Society and Revolution Muslim are in jail.

Nevertheless, in a desperate attempt to connect these despicable characters with all Muslims, and to somehow connect with a current event (the “All-American Muslim” television program), Pamela Geller posted an article on December 23, 2011 titled All-American Muslims tell parade goers to put down American flag. 

She of course doesn’t mention that these 5 or 6 nutcases and their organizations have been denounced by the American Muslim community, or that the thousands of people they are yelling at are the genuine All-American Muslims (who wanted nothing to do with this lunatic fringe), or that it was American Muslims who were proudly displaying that American flag, or that this happened 4 years ago.  Not a day can go by without publishing something that will advance her anti-Muslim, Islamophobic memes, and if she has nothing, she will make it up.  She doesn’t mention any relevant facts because her goal is to stir up her readers, and as usual, you only need to read the comments under her article to know that she succeeds.


Abdullah El Faisal, Revolution Muslim, and Islamic Thinkers Society, Sheila Musaji