Thousands of New Yorkers participated in the ‘Today I am a Muslim too’ rally held at the Times Square in New York on Sunday.
The rally had people from all walks of life come out to show solidarity with Muslims and denounce anti-Muslim rhetoric promoted by the US President Trump following executive orders that stopped refugees and travellers from seven-Muslim majority countries to enter US.
Holding placards featuring a hijabi woman in an American flag, captioned “We the people are greater than fear” and signs reading: “I am a Muslim too”, the demonstrators paraded around New York’s most famous tourist and local hangout.
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Organised by music mogul Russel Simmons, the gathering had Rabbis, Imams, a sikh, Buddhist, a Hindu, a Baptist pastor, Episcopalian and Presbyterian reverends including a Mennonite, a Seventh Day Adventist minister and local politicians and civil rights advocates as speakers.
Thank you to the thousands of people who showed up today to show their support for Muslims. It was an inspiring day, but we must keep it up! https://t.co/ARnESeSewb— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) February 19, 2017
The New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, assured the crowd that "regardless of your background, your faith or where you were born, this is your city."
Simmons urged the crowd to not be hostile towards Trump. “We won't speak too harshly of him today. We want to thank him for bringing us together," he said. "So we are here today to show middle America our beautiful signs and, through our beautiful actions and intention, that they have been misled -- that the seeds of hate that were small and maybe just ignorance cannot be watered, and that hate cannot grow because we are here to assist them in promoting love."
He said that those who demonise Muslims were actually demons, emphasising how Muslims were the victims of terrorism.
Brooklyn-born Palestinian-American activist and commentator, Linda Sarsour highlighted that February 19, 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive orders that “paved away for the internment of Japanese, German and Italian-Americans.
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"I am unapologetically Muslim, all day, every day," Sarsour said to the crowd. "I am not afraid because fear is a choice; it is not a fact. So today I ask you, in the true grit and spirit of a New Yorker, that you choose courage in the face of fear."
The solidarity event had former-first daughter, Chalsea Clinton and actor Susan Sarandon in attendance as well.