Critics say a Muslim group picked the wrong day – Sept. 11 - to march on Washington to complain about religious profiling and President Obama’s handling of an investigation into the terror attacks that rocked America 12 years ago.
The mass demonstration, called the "Million Muslim March," was changed to a more mainstream-sounding event, "Million American March Against Fear," but the name did not seem to gain much traction and has apparently reverted back to its original title.
American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC), which is organizing the march, claims Muslims nationwide have been the victims of anti-Islamic bigotry in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on American soil.
"On 9.11.01 our country was forever changed by the horrific events in New York. The entire country was victimized by the acts done on that day," the group said in a statement. "Muslim and Non Muslim alike were traumatized but we as Muslims continue 12 years later to be victimized by being made the villains. To this day every media outlet and anti Islamic organization has committed slanderous and libel statements against us as Muslims and our religion of Islam."
"Yet our Government either sits idly by and does nothing to protect our freedoms or it exacerbates the problem with its constant war on terrorism in Islamic countries, congressional hearings on Islam in America, and its changes to the NDAA law," the statement says.
In an interview Thursday with Fox News' Sean Hannity, M.D. Rabbi Alam, one of the march's main organizers, defended the movement, claiming demonstrators will stand on that day to "show America that we Muslims denounce terrorism."
"We Muslims have become villainized and victimized" following the attacks, Alam said. He added that 12 years after 9/11, he feels that he "is looked at" as one of the 19 Al Qaeda hijackers who committed the attacks.
But critics say the U.S. has gone to great lengths to differentiate between Islam and Islamic extremists since the 2001 attacks -- and that claims Muslims have been victimized by the government are unfounded. Critics also say the date chosen for the march on the nation's capitol -- Sept. 11 -- is insensitive to the victims and their family members.
"They're basically a bunch of 'truthers' who think that America's to blame for everything," Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the Islamic Forum for Democracy, told Fox News on Friday. The Anti-Defamation League, Jasser said, has identified some of the leaders of the march as "being virulent, anti-Semites who think 9/11 was a conspiracy theory."
"These guys are problematic and they're trying to exploit 9/11," Jasser said. "If they were truly patriotic Americans and moderates, they'd be marching on the courthouse steps of the Fort Hood trial that's happening this week to tell Americans that we want the death penalty for Nidal Hissan rather than this circus that they're doing in exploiting the murders and horrific acts of 9/11."
"America has gone on to liberate Muslims," he continued. "They gave our families freedom that we could not have in any so-called Muslim countries."