Rights group condemns Colorado bike club's 'anti-Ramadan' barbecue

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2015 5:45 PM

By Daniel Wallis

DENVER (Reuters) - A civil rights group said on Friday it was deeply disturbed by reports that a Colorado motorcycle club has distributed flyers for an anti-Ramadan barbecue, including a pig roast, this weekend "in defiance of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan."

Scott Levin, regional director of the Mountain States Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said in a statement the "open bike party" was being advertised by the Colorado Springs chapter of the Infidels Motorcycle Club.

"Holding an event mocking the Muslim observance of Ramadan, a holy time in the Muslim faith, is highly offensive and abhorrent. As a community, we must reject anti-Muslim bigotry whenever and wherever it surfaces," Levin said.

It was not immediately possible to reach the Colorado Springs chapter of the Infidels Motorcycle Club for comment.

Muslims worldwide observe Ramadan, during which many abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

The Gazette, a local newspaper in Colorado Springs, reported on Friday that the fliers were found posted around the Fort Carson Army Base, on the southern outskirts of the city, and were immediately taken down.

The newspaper said the flier features a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed, a woman wearing the upper half of a burka, and a picture breaking down the parts of a pig.

It also has an explicit reference to the Islamic State militant group, the paper said, and promises "patriotism, brotherhood, food and drinks, merchandise, music and good times" at the Infidels' headquarters in the Cimarron Hills area, northeast of Colorado Springs.

Reports of plans for the inflammatory event follows an anti-Muslim demonstration held last month outside a mosque in Phoenix, Arizona, which drew more than 200 protesters, some armed with automatic rifles, who berated Islam.

An organizer said that rally was held in part because two gunmen who opened fire last month outside a contest in Texas to draw the Prophet Mohammed had worshipped at the mosque.

A similar event is planned for July 18 outside the Tucson Islamic Center, also in Arizona, the Phoenix New Times reported this week.

On a Facebook page created for the "Let Freedom Ring Free Speech Rally," organizer Dean Remington described himself as a retired veteran and family man. He denied it is a hate rally, "or an attack on any religion of peace."

"Bring solid dialogue to this rally, all sides need a voice," Remington wrote online. "Bring peaceful meaningful signs and the heart to agree to disagree."

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Sandra Maler)