The nationwide “March Against Sharia” rallies on June 10, 2017, brought an unholy alliance of far-right actors into the streets. While normally many of them would not be seen in the same room with each other, these different factions were drawn together by their mutual hatred of Muslims. Nazis and right-wing Zionists, LGBTQ activists and right-wing paramilitaries, “alt-lite” teens and hardened racist skinheads all took to the streets.
While the left was quick to loudly oppose the march, it has been slower to try and understand the changing role that Islamophobia is playing on the US far right. Islamophobia is increasingly uniting formerly disparate factions. It is more socially acceptable than anti-Semitism while still demonizing a minority group. Plus, its ostensible emphasis on religion is a way to avoid specifically naming race.
The rally was sponsored by the Islamophobic group ACT for America. The rally’s description said it was “In memory and support of victims of FGM [female genital mutilation], honor killings, and violence toward the LGBT community in the name of religion, culture or foreign law.” However, this was no gathering of human rights activists. Instead, it was a call for a range of (frequently misogynistic) far-right actors to shamelessly rally under a pretext of defending human rights.
These included fascists from groups like Identity Evropa, Vanguard America and Keystone State Skinheads; Islamophobic vigilantes like Soldiers of Odin; the Proud Boys, an alt-right fight club; the neo-confederate League of the South; and a variety of Patriot movement paramilitaries, including the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and local militia groups. A handful of right-wing Zionists, as well as LGBTQ people, including the rally’s national organizer Scott Presler, participated. The spectacle of right-wing Zionists in the street with Holocaust deniers, and LGBTQ people with rightist paramilitaries, is not one often seen.
More at Truthout; Islamophobia Is the Glue That Unites Diverse Factions of the Far Right