Anti-Islam Quran Burning Blocked by Counter Protest


Washington DC – A small group of people incited by recent inflammatory and racist statements against Muslims in the U.S. were outwitted when their plan to burn a Quran in front of the White House went haywire. A counterprotester snatched the Holy Book of Islam out of the hands of one of the self-proclaimed “Sons of Liberty” just as he was about to set the book alight.

The would-be Quran burner, Ernest Sweigert of Baltimore, tore up the few pages left in his hands in frustration as the book-snatcher ran away.

The five demonstrators, wearing black t-shirts, hoodies or leather jackets with American flag patches, were protesting immigration from Syria. They object to Muslims living in the U.S. and link them to terrorism.

About 100 supporters of Muslims surrounded them and held up sheets to block them from view. As tensions spilled over, about a dozen Secret Service agents formed a protective line while both sides traded taunts. There were no arrests.

The original plan to hold the book-burning directly in front of the White House had also been thwarted and moved a block away, since the Secret Service closed off the area due to a suspicious package.

Counterprotester Matt Kirkland believes that the Islamophobia expressed by the demonstrators grips only a “fringe group” of society. “A small percentage of the country actually believes that a whole religion is evil,” he said. “No religion is better or worse than other religions. Religion doesn’t cause terrorism. Assholes cause terrorism.”

Anna Kaminski, also there to object to the Quran burning, said that racist and Islamaphobic behaviors by small groups reflected negatively on all Americans. Addressing Sweigert, she said, “You standing here is being broadcast around the world as a symbol for America which will come to embody a culture of hate.”

Verbal and physical attacks on Muslims have increased in the last week after a shooting in San Bernadino, CA was carried out by a couple with an alleged “allegiance” to Da’esh (ISIS). Subsequently, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Other public figures such as former New York Governor George Pataki escalated the rhetoric to an even greater extreme. “We must decade war on Radical Islam. I’m not edging toward violent speech. I’m declaring we kill them. Go ahead Arrest Me,” he tweeted.

On Thursday in Washington, DC, a protest was held at the Trump International Hotel, under construction on Pennsylvania Ave., to draw attention to Trump’s hate speech targeting Latinos, women, and Muslims.


About Author

Anne Meador is a co-founder of DC Media Group, a grassroots collective of journalists reporting news and issues from the people's perspective. John Zangas is a journalist, photographer and contributor to Revolution News. Follow him on Twitter @johnzangas