Hundreds gathered in Richmond’s Monroe Park for a rally in solidarity for Palestinians. Supporters included both members of the local Muslim community and those without an Islamic background. Rally-goers then took to the streets with Richmond Police assisting in closing down West Broad Street temporally.
The rally and march went off without a hitch, except for a few upset motorists who had to wait in traffic and a pair of pro-Palestinian vehicles that were stopped with passengers waving the flag of Palestine.
Leading up to the event, there was hype around the “Day of Jihad.” Outlets like Fox News put out headlines that made the public seem like Hamas was ordering the protests. Fake outrage of an imagined threat that is reminiscent the 2017 Hoax of an Antifa Civil War on November 4.
A Day of Jihad was not the case in Richmond as many rally-goers brought their families. Muslim Life Director at VCU Bilal Qurashi thought it was absurd that he was being asked to denounce violence because he said that the Quran is clear about the opposition to killing any civilian and non-combatant. Qurashi expressed that the rally was to bring representation of people from Palestine and attention to the crisis in Gaza brought on by the Israeli military.
In the past year, groups like the ADL have noted an increase in attacks against Jewish communities. Many of the rally-goers like Qurashi have worried that attacks on Muslims would get worse as well. Most recently, a 6-year-old boy was fatally stabbed in what authorities have said was motivated by the victim being Muslim.
While some see this issue as Muslims against Jews in the Middle East, white supremacists use this issue to target both groups. Tree of Life Synagogue shooter Robert Bauer selected the temple in Pittsburgh to carry out the largest mass murder of Jewish people in U.S. history because of the congregation’s commitment to helping Muslim refugees.
Sorry, I can’t give any reporting about the violence in the Gaza Strip, and it wouldn’t be very helpful from my perspective in Richmond. But I can give a little advice… be nice to your neighbors. Do your best to bring comfort to those in Richmond who are worried about their loved ones overseas.
Main photo: Supporters of Palestinians marching on West Broad Street in Richmond, VA on October 15, 2023
For more from Goad Gatsby, check out his work HERE