There Is No More 'Million Muslim March' on 9/11

Protest organizer says the event is now a secular anti-government protest.

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The Mall with the U.S. Capitol at the top is seen from the air, on November 21, 2008, in Washington, D.C.
The Mall with the U.S. Capitol at the top is seen from the air, on November 21, 2008, in Washington, D.C.

The demonstration originally called the "Million Muslim March" now has an explicitly secular name, the "Million American March Against Fear," organizer Isa Hodge stressed in a Friday interview with U.S. News.

Media coverage of the event, scheduled for the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, exploded earlier this week. Hodge said he's irritated that many reports used the original name, which he says was changed in February after the addition of groups that doubt the official account of the 2001 attacks.

"They're focusing on what it was [called] before February to continue the misinformation and fear that we're trying to stop," Hodge said. "It's more sensational if they can put out there that it's just Muslims going to dance on the graves of the 3,000 souls that were lost that day. That's not what we're doing."

Protesters will instead take to the National Mall to denounce government surveillance and call for "the truth" about the attacks, Hodge says.

[EARLIER: 'Million Muslim March' Reorients

It's probable that the demonstration will fall short of its numerical ambition.

National Park Service spokesperson Carol Johnson told U.S. News in July that organizers applied for a National Mall permit citing just 1,000 likely participants.

But after the media frenzy, Hodge says, "I expect the numbers to be astronomical. ... I expect many anti-protesters, but they're going to be pleasantly surprised, I think. We're not going to be up there whining about civil rights violations of Muslims. There's going to be a presentation on rights and events that affect the liberties of all Americans."

[BROWSE: Cartoons on NSA Surveillance]

The majority of speakers at the event will not be Muslim, the organizer said, and will focus on issues including "the AP essentially having their records stolen" by the Justice Department during a leak investigation, as well as the IRS targeting of political groups and NSA phone and Internet surveillance.

Hodge is the spokesman of the American Muslim Political Action Committee, the Missouri-based group that first called for the protest last October. Opponents of drones and the National Defense Authorization Act, as well as north-central Pennsylvania's Williamsport Tea Party are now involved with the event.

"We all deserve to be judged on our own merits, and that is precisely why I will show my solidarity with peaceful, Constitution-loving citizens," Nick Defonte of the Williamsport Tea Party told U.S. News last month.

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