Protesters who gathered on Saturday, June 10th, to denounce Islamic law were met across the country with equally sized or larger counter-protests. The rallies were organized by the conservative group ACT for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the “largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America, claiming 280,000 members and over 1,000 chapters.” The organization describes itself as “the NRA of national security.”
The rallies were held in about two dozen cities and about 20 states.
Organizers called the “March Against Sharia” rallies to protest what they say is the threat to U.S. society posed by the set of traditional Muslim practices, which they say includes oppression of women, honor killings, homophobic violence, female genital mutilation and other abuses.
Outspoken anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller felt the need to protect her brand.
Geller, perhaps best known for leading the charge in 2010 against construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York, is the founder of “Stop Islamization of America,” a group that wants to educate Americans about “Islamic domination and expansionism.” It has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rebuffed the controversial blogger’s attempt to trademark “Stop the Islamisation of America,” upholding the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s finding that the name disparages Muslims. (The word “Islamization” appeared with an “s” and a “z” in different parts of the opinion — the court found the spelling variation “immaterial.”)
The trademark board can refuse applications for trademarks that disparage persons, institutions, beliefs or national symbols. The board had denied Geller’s application, finding that the words “Stop the Islamisation of America” associated Islam with terrorism, a characterization many Muslims are likely to find offensive.
Geller agreed. In an e-mail to The Washington Post, Geller said the ruling is “evidence of how the federal government, and especially the courts, continue to bend over backwards to kowtow and placate Muslim sensitivities … they are afraid of the response from Islamic supremacists.” Geller plans to appeal the decision, which she called “unconstitutional.”