The conservative group Act For America organized A March Against Sharia, which doesn’t actually exist as an institution in America, but it’s a digestible binary narrative to stir public outrage in 23 cities spanning 18 states. In the group’s policy statement on its website the organization says:
“This diversity of membership allows ACT for America to showcase the tolerant and patriotic nature of our nation, as well as to create a healthier dialogue about the most critical threats facing our nation from the perspective of a variety of voices.”
It would seem that the march is having the opposite impact on public dialogue; swinging the discourse into a vile and ugly direction about the worst aspects of a religion of 1.4 billion people. The Southern Poverty Law Center, who recently came under some heat for listing British anti-extremist and former Islamist Maajid Nawaz, was all too happy to highlight the worst possible things being said on Act for America’s Facebook page. If you would like to ruin your Saturday you can follow the roaring hordes of indignation raising the level of discourse and creating “healthier dialogue” on the hashtag #MarchAgainstSharia.
The issues being raised by this Trumpian campaign of a brazen contempt for PC Culture will get lost in their version of elevated discourse. As seen here in a tweet from Kaivan Shroff — the topic is conflated and the discussion becomes Mike Pence’s decisions as a married elected official who lives in an age of toxic politics. The plight of women is no longer the center of the debate but instead the partisan backlash of perceived hypocrisy.
Pence isn't allowed in a room with another woman alone, but please – tell us about how other cultures are repressive #MarchAgainstSharia
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) June 10, 2017
Female genital mutilation, one of the central issues being raised by the march, is an abhorrent and barbaric practice and opposing the radical religious fringe who subject little girls to it should not be a controversial opinion anywhere in the developed world. What elevated discourse actually looks like are events like seminars beings held in Brussels. In reality, the practice in America is illegal and prosecuted when discovered. Despite the claims from conservative groups like Act for America of progressive activism enabling or being willfully ignorant about the bizarre practice, the American political left has always opposed and attempted to eradicate the practice on a global scale.
This march, in spirit, is about raising awareness of cultural practices that are defended under religious freedoms. Stoning a woman for adultery, honor killings of women by male relatives because they were raped, and forced marriages should be something decent people across the political spectrum can agree upon. The fact that they are used as a partisan football is quite bizarre. These beliefs and practices do not have a place in the modern world. Full Stop. But as it all too often goes in the age of Trump, this form of awareness raising often lowers the discourse and results are hard to find from the efforts of these types of groups. The bizarre seems to be the new normal.
The counter protest and hast tag is #CounterACTHate. Lead by Linda Sarsour.
Can we judge Islam by the almost 2 billion who follow it or just the very tiny few who distort it? How does that even make sense?
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) June 10, 2017
Sarsour is recently recovering from a major hit to her credibility. Chuck Ross from the DailyCaller reported that Sarsour had either knowingly misled people to raise funds for a woman who wasn’t actually attacked in a hate crime or Sarsour was conned herself. Either way, groups like ACT are allowing her to regain credibility by appearing to stand up to the vitriol spewed protesting Sharia Law. It just seems like standing in crowds shouting back and forth at one another doesn’t seem like a very effective strategy for helping women who are abused by men because of practices taught by an extreme faction of the Islamic faith. Neither side really cares about the women, just their narrative.