Protests Planned for Event Held by Anti-Muslim Group
Thursday, June 15, 2017
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Republican Party in Rapid City is sponsoring an event Thursday focusing on the threat from Islamic terrorism, but there is concern the group in charge is stirring up animosity toward Muslims.
That group, Understanding the Threat, calls itself an operational training and consulting group.
Also sponsoring the event is Act for America, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as the "largest anti-Muslim group in the country."
Act for America made headlines last weekend for holding anti-Sharia law protests across the country.
The progressive group Indivisible Rapid City is planning to protest the event.
Lori Miller, one of the group’s founding members, worries the local GOP is normalizing anti-Muslim hate groups.
"They're seen as figures of authority, and people that are part of the party leadership are making decisions about our government – and then they're pairing with this group that spreads bad information to prey on people's fears,” she points out. “That's a problem."
The Pennington County Republican Party says the presentation is not anti-Muslim and will mainly be about facing the threat of terrorism. The party declined to comment for this story.
Miller says there have been at least a half dozen events hostile to Muslims in Rapid City in the past year.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned a similar presentation by Understanding the Threat in Arizona in May. Miller says a lack of understanding of the Muslim faith can lead to the spread of hate.
"They're planting the seed and that seed's going to grow if we don't do something to try to stop it," she stresses.
Miller says the intent of the protest, called Stand in Unity with our Muslim Community, is to show support for the region's Muslims.
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