Islamophobic Mesa County Group Gets Pushback

RallyAgainstA fringe right-wing Mesa County group that planned an open-carry protest October 10 in front of a Grand Junction mosque was forced to back down after a counter protest that was quickly organized via social media at the same place and time drew far more participants than the Muslim-hater event.

The larger (national) anti-Islamic group “Global Rally for Humanity,” which organized the protest at the mosque, was formed by a combination of the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters*, two radical, militaristic pro-gun, fringe right-wing groups that Mother Jones magazine calls “the Tea Party’s military wing.”

The Grand Junction protest was part of a global effort to stimulate anti-Islamic protests in front of mosques around the world on Saturday, October 10. The Grand Junction group created a Facebook event page to plan their protest. By yesterday afternoon (10/1), when word got out about the planned protest, only 17 people had signed up to attend the event.

In response to the Global Rally’s announcement of the protest planned at their mosque, the Islamic Center of Grand Junction issued an official statement:

“A salamoalaikom brothers and sisters.
Peace be upon all Grand Junction people.

As a Muslim community, we’ve lived in Grand Junction for many years, practicing our religion freely in a beautiful and peaceful city. We thank all Grand Junction people from other faiths who always support us.

We received messages from some good brothers and sisters from different faiths offering their support and warning us of a group of people who call themselves Global Rally For Humanity. This group is anti-Islam and they are planning to come and protest by our islamic center.

We welcome everyone to come including the anti-islam group. We want to let everyone know that we are a small and peaceful community and wish no harm to anyone be it a Muslim or non Muslim.
Our goal is to practice our religion freely and live in harmony and peace with everyone in town. We respect the law and constitution of the United States, and we also respect people’s way of life.
We are not here to impose our way on anyone.

Again, we thank people of Grand junction for their support. God bless you!”

Armed "Oath Keepers" roamed the streets of Ferguson, MI, exacerbating residents' unease after the death of Michael Brown

Armed “Oath Keepers” roamed the streets of Ferguson, MI, exacerbating residents’ unease after the death of Michael Brown. the Global Rally islamophobic group was a combination of the Oath Keepers and the Three-Percenters

When the event appeared on Facebook, however, Grand Junction resident Adam Anderson quickly organized Grand Valley Unites Against Islamophobia, a counter-protest event to be held at the same time and place as the Global Rally. The simultaneous protests set the stage for a potentially volatile showdown, but by the afternoon of October 3, 131 people had signed up to attend the counter-event, and the Islamophobic group cancelled their event and took down their Facebook page. Word is that the counter-protest will go on despite the cancellation of the original hate event. It will be non-violent and non-religious, and held to show support for Grand Junction’s Muslim community. Word is there will be cookies and drinks, and the event will go on all day on October 10, in case the original hate group is still planning the event using some other means.

Positive Culture Shift Continues in Grand Junction

This pushback against a fringe right wing event in Mesa County, conducted entirely on Facebook, shows an ongoing a culture shift continues in our area that is trending towards more a accepting and peace-loving attitude among area residents. It also shows that potentially dangerous “showdowns” with bigoted subgroups can be averted when such radical groups announce their intentions online. Social media allows peaceful counter-actions to be organized quickly against these kinds of inflammatory activities. Social media combined with an active, caring populace versed in its sue, can make all this happen electronically, before any gun toting, militaristic fringe groups actually show up on the streets and cause unease and confrontations potentially leading to injuries or deaths.

Go, Grand Junction, and thank you for this great case study in how social media can help sanity and compassion to prevail, and how it can be used to push back against bigotry and maintain peace in our community.

*UPDATE: October 4, 2015, 11:23 a.m. – Jesse Nelson, the coordinator of the Grand Junction Three Percenters group, reports that his group was not “officially connected” with this event, and made a formal request for this information to be added to this post.

  13 comments for “Islamophobic Mesa County Group Gets Pushback

  1. The actual Three Percenters had nothing to with this rally.

    I wish more actual journalist investigation would have been done before writing this article. While I cannot speak for specific individuals, I can Speak for the leaders of Three Percenters in Grand Junction did not help plan, participate, or encourage this rally. In fact, I just heard about it this morning and I am the GJ Coordinator for Three Percenters. It is comforting to know that local Muslims have respect for the American Constitution and Rule of Law, now if only more people would respect the Constitution and understand the importance and history of the militia and the 2nd Amendment for ALL Americans.

    All people are the militia whether they want to exercise that right or not, and all people are charged with the security of the Free State. Three Percenters are about educating and preparing ALL Americans , regardless of race, religion, or political views.

    While every group has its radicals, and Islamphobia and Christianphobia seems to be growing in America today, your local Three Percenters did not help or plan this rally in anyway. Three Percenters support the practice of any faith as long as it is done without coercion and violence. Members come from all ethnicities, faiths or non-faiths, and political parties. The most important thing is that they support the American Constitution, and the Rule of Law, be willing to educate and train themselves to be a more valued member of society, and accept the responsibility of being necessary for the security of the free state.

    While it is easy to throw around emotionally charged phrases, I do encourage everyone to use intellect and reason in understanding that we are all on the same side, the American side.

    • Hello, I have been interested in the III % since finding them on line sometime back. I am a strong American Patriot looking to join a III % in my area.
      Thank you.

      • Who isn’t a patriot and why do right wingers think they are the only patriots? The whole use of the term is just a catch phrase as all Americans are patriots!

    • The post states that the larger (national) group that is organizing “Global Rallies” across the country arose from a combination of the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. It may be the case that one or the other (or both) groups were not involved in coordinating the local homophobic action, but nevertheless some people in Mesa County considered the idea valuable and chose to pursue it. I’m open to finding out what groups they belong to.

    • Try applying what you have written to your group and groups like yours in the USA and our country wins for everyone!

    • But God created the bigots, too, right? So don’t thank God, thank Adam Anderson who jumped into action, and all the wonderful people who signed up to attend the counter-protest he organized.

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