Mosques across the United States have been warned to increase security measures ahead of anti-Islam protests planned for 9 and 10 October. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the country's largest Muslim civil rights organisation, called on Muslim community leaders to implement "additional safety measures" in response to the rallies organised by anti-Islam protestors.
The rallies are being organised by a group called the Global Rally for Humanity, who claim that "humanity is attacked daily by radical Islam" and are calling on people to set up protests "in every country at every Mosque". So far, at least 20 rallies have been organised in different cities across the United States. CAIR issued a safety alert to all mosques as some event pages have called on protestors to be armed.
"Organisers of the hate rallies have indicated that participants in states with open carry laws may be armed and that provocations such as the use of live pigs and Quran desecrations may occur," said a spokesperson for CAIR. "Given the recent endorsement of Islamophobia by national public figures, it would only be prudent for mosque and community leaders to prepare for any eventuality."
Recent Islamophobic comments from high-profile figures have included Republican presidential cadidate Ben Carson saying that Islam "subjugates other religions and [advocates] a host of things that are not compatible with [the United States] constitution". Donald Trump, also a Republican presidential candidate, drew backlash over comments that said some Muslims were a problem for the United States.
CAIR has also published a list of recommendations for Muslim community leaders in the wake of the upcoming protests, including encouraging them to request stepped up police presence. CAIR have said that a number of mosques have met with their local police departments to seek advice.
On 13 August a post on the Global Rally for Humanity's Facebook page set out guidelines on how people can set up their own anti-Islam rally in their city. While some responded positively to the call for protests and were eager to set up their own, many took to the group's Facebook page to condemn their actions.
One Facebook user, Rebecca Campbell, posted: "Are you guys kidding me? Last time I checked humanity included Muslim people. This is despicable. As a veteran I am ashamed at your use of the terms patriot and oath keeper." Meanwhile, others branded the organisers as racist and urged them not to give the United States a bad name.
The English Defence League in the United Kingdom has also joined in the anti-Islam protests and are due to stage their own rally in Aylesbury. The group said that the event was originally scheduled for later in the month but will now be taking place on 10 October to "express solidarity" with the Global Rally for Humanity.