Gainesville, FL – Chanting, “When the Muslim people are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” about 300 people rallied and marched here Sept. 11 in response to the threatened Qur’an burning by Pastor Terry Jones's church, the Dove World Outreach Center. The protest was organized by the Gainesville Area Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and it received support from the community at large.
The protest began at Possum Creek Park, where speakers denounced the anti-Muslim bigotry and racism that is spread by the Dove World Outreach Center. From there, demonstrators marched to the church. Cops prevented protesters from using bull horns, but they were not silent. Among their chants was, “Same thing every time, being Muslim’s not a crime!” and, “Hey hey, ho ho! Terry Jones has got to go!” Students for a Democratic Society carried a large banner reading, “SDS stands against bigotry and racism.”
Justin Wooten, a protest organizer and member of SDS stated, “We sent a message to the world that our community is opposed to racism and anti -Muslim bigotry. We know that reactionary politicians who promote hatred of Muslims have a deeper agenda. They are prompting the racism and inequality that’s faced by Arabs, South East Asians and African Americans. And they are supporting U.S. wars and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.” Wooten also noted that backers of Israel have worked hard to support anti-Muslim bigotry.
The Gainesville protest was one of the many that took place across the United States on Sept. 11. In New York City, 10,000 people rallied in solidarity with the Muslim community in the struggle over the Islamic Community Center near the World Trade Center site. Other protests against anti-Muslim bigotry took place in a number of cities, including Minneapolis, Ashville, North Carolina and Chicago.