Photo Credit: Joan L. Roth
Dr. Phyllis Chesler

{Originally published in Breitbart}

New York City hosted the 29th annual Muslim Day Parade on Sunday, with the theme “Islam and America Share Common Values.” Despite the slogan, the event featured anti-Israeli “occupation” protesters, aggressively anti-Israel speakers, and flyers were distributed featuring a doctored image of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi wearing swastikas on his face.

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The decades-old festivities were sparsely attended and shadily organized. Despite the fact that it was a sunny, refreshingly cool, but beautiful day in New York City, no more than 150 people were part of this rally. A few hundred more, mainly parents with children, were at the street fair which featured rides, food, games. It was not immediately clear who was organizing the event– no group was listed as a sponsor. Instead, four men’s names and phone numbers were given.

Whoever was in charge of the event appeared comfortable with a number of revealing, incendiary flyers being distributed against Muslim Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has been pivotal in stopping the Muslim Brotherhood’s expansion in his country and, thus, has incited the ire of many Islamists. One poster boasted the word WANTED in all capital letters, adding “for Crimes Against Humanity,” allegedly perpetrated by General Sisi. Another flyer advertises: “Huge Protest Against the Visit (SISI) to the United Nations. This will take place on 9/25/14. A swastika is painted on his cheek. The flyers indicate the Muslim American Day Parade was fertile ground for Muslim Brotherhood operatives.

The flyers belied what appeared to be a moderate sentiment echoed by the crowd. No one was brazenly or obviously flying the flags of ISIS or of Jihad as has been done in the past. Yes, there were black and white flag-like materials intertwined with red material on some floats, but they were not flown as flags or carried as banners. While most women wore hijab, some were black and “unfriendly,” but many were rather colorful and “friendly.” Only some women were entirely face-masked or wearing burqas.

The speeches added to the feeling that “Islam and America Share Common Values.” The President of the Muslim Foundation of America, Ainul Haque, urged Muslims to “get united”—but not on behalf of broad American values or on behalf of non-Muslim Americans, but on Muslim-specific goals “The Muslim community is struggling to get school holidays for children – working hard with Muslim community to get Allah’s food in the schools. Please register to vote,” he urged.

Another unnamed speaker offered this ambiguous message: “We have been prosecuted but (we) always obey the law. Peace be upon us. Please obey the law. America is our homeland… We are not going anywhere. Muslims are facing injustices around the world. We are here in (a) democratic society…we are thankful for elected officials – we salute you. Please bring next year your family and friends. We want to double and triple (the number of) people here. Show our strength and how peaceful we are. Clean this place. God bless America and God bless Muslims.”

I hesitate to interpret what he might mean by “clean this place” but am fairly certain that some other speaker will clarify this.

Other speakers were more overtly political. Dr Mohammad Battanani (sic) urged listeners to “work together for peace and justice for all. We have to work for justice for our people in Palestine, in Kashmir, in Egypt, in Iraq. It is justice for all.”

Why did he have to bring in Palestine and Kashmir when Muslims mean one thing when they say these two words, and Israeli Jews and Hindus mean something entirely different, opposite? Justice for Muslims-only in Kashmir means that the very last Hindus, long under siege, have to leave so that Muslims can destroy their temples and lay claim to a city that is sacred to Hindus. The same can be said for what many Muslims consider the parameters of Palestine and the Jewish people.

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Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D is an emerita professor of Psychology, a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, the author of thousands of articles, four studies about honor killing and sixteen books, including “The New Anti-Semitism,” “An American Bride in Kabul," and “Living History: On The Front Lines for Israel and the Jews, 2003-2015.” She archives her articles and may be reached through her website: www.phyllis-chesler.com.

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