Documentary: I am Muslim too rally and counter demonstration NYC
Rep. Peter King, chairman of the United States House Homeland Security Committees' decision to begin holding congressional hearings this Thursday March 9th on "the extent of the radicalization of American Muslims." has drawn a swarm of intense criticism. Typical of this opposition is the comment by Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who characterized the hearings as "a witch hunt." . Several opponents have likened it to the McCarthy hearings of the 1950's.
On Sunday March 6th a coalition of over 100 interfaith, nonprofit and governmental organizations rallied in Times Square against the planned congressional hearings. The theme of the rally was " Today I am a Muslim too" Several hundred people ( estimates varied from 300 to 1,000 ) came out in the rain to show solidarity with muslimAmericans. It was a diverse group, young,old, a wide range of religons and ethnic heritages represented. Despite the grey rainy weather there was a bouancy and energy in the crowd. People were smiling.
A few blocks south of the "Today I am a Muslim too" rally a counter demonstration was being held. This was a smaller group, maybe 40-50 people at most and decidedly less diverse. They were fevrent in their support for the hearings and for Rep King. They focused a lot on the threat of islamic terrorism and the potential for Shari law to somehow usurrp the constitution. they were concerned, strident and angry, carrying signs tht said " All I ever needed to learn about Islam I learned on 9/11" As I listened to them what my ear heard most of all was the hurt. The hurt of being suddenly and unexpectantly wounded and the blind lashing out that often occurs reflexively, protectively to try to stop the hurt from that sudden, searing, unexpected wound.
I moved back and forth between rallies, photographing them both through out the day. It struck me that in both locations the American flag was everywhere ,being worn, waved, or otherwise displayed proudlyby everyone on all sides of the issue.