The US National Park Service (NPS) gave a permit to Muslims to march on the National Mall on September 11th.
The Muslim group originally called the event the “Million Muslim March,” but later changed the name to “Million American March Against Fear” after receiving criticism. On the group’s website, it claims the mission of the rally was to establish “Humanity and Justice through a Civil Rights Movement.”
Many Americans were outraged that a large group of Muslims would hold a seemingly self-righteous rally on a day like September 11.
But this is America, and we all have the right to free speech… Right?
Well, apparently it is not that simple.
NPS denied a permit request from a group of bikers who wanted to ride through Washington, DC on September 11th. They wanted to do this to honor all of the victims killed during the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Why would the Muslims be granted a permit, but not the bikers?
NPS claimed they denied the bikers’ permit request for technical reasons.
A spokeswoman for the NPS, Carol Johnson, said, “They looked at [the permit application] and decided it would cause a severe service disruption of traffic both inside and outside the area around the mall. The size of the event, we can’t manage. We couldn’t provide adequate park police services and park police escorts and it would require a lot of road closures so it was denied.”
She jokingly said, “[I] wish the bikers would leave me alone.”
Although the NPS denied the bikers a permit, they roared into DC anyway. The group wrote on their Facebook page, “We have our constitutional rights and we shall ride!”
Still, the bikers made it clear they had no intentions of confronting the Muslims (and they didn’t). “We’re here for 9-11. We are going to have a peaceful ride,” said Belinda Bee, the national ride coordinator.
And that’s exactly what they did.
Here are some photos from the event:
While the NPS was not explicitly denying the bikers’ a right to free speech in this case, their reason for denying the group a permit is certainly suspicious. The federal government seems to make it more difficult for non-liberal groups. Mere months ago, it was revealed that the IRS purposefully targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Do you think the Muslim group was given favoritism by the NPS? Let us know in the comments section below.