MUCK ISIS demonstration plans to burn ISIS flag in front of the Columns

Organizers emphasize the role of US foreign policy in the rise of terrorism

The MU Coalition for those Killed by ISIS, or MUCK ISIS, plans to hold a demonstration that, according to their flier, will include “food, music and freedom” as well as the burning of the Islamic State’s flag.

The rally will take place Thursday, Oct. 8. It will feature speeches and a barbecue starting at 4 p.m. then culminate in the flag burning around 5 p.m. The group distributed over a thousand fliers to advertise the event, and they hope to have a turnout of several hundred people, said John Lund-Molfese, a member of Young Americans for Liberty and MUCK ISIS.

“We’re trying to spread awareness on the atrocities that ISIS has committed and the fact that they are doing is as a result of U.S. foreign policy,” YAL and MUCK ISIS member Caleb Mundwiller said.

This is the first event hosted by MUCK ISIS.

“MUCK ISIS is a conglomeration of concerned students, not exclusive to Young Americans for Liberty, who want to have a say in how U.S. foreign policy is shaped, or at least want to express their displeasure in how it’s been executed so far,” YAL President Ian Paris said.

The event will feature a moment of silence for those ISIS has killed, which Paris said included “tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands” of Muslims.

He and other organizers emphasized that the event is not anti-Islam.

“We are not there to purport Islamophobia,” Paris said. “In my opinion, one of the greatest atrocities ISIS has committed has been perverting and distorting the true values of Islam.”

Protesters will speak about the effects of U.S. involvement in the region, which organizers say greatly contributed to the rise of ISIS.

Paris attributed several U.S. actions to the growth of radical Islam, including the war with Iraq, the early withdrawal of troops under President Obama from the region, the toppling of secular dictators in the Middle East, and especially the “pumping (of) countless weapons and funds into the Middle East.”

Organizers said that, when passing out flyers, several students didn’t know what the Islamic State was. Paris hopes that the event can help educate people.

“You’d be surprised by the number of students I talked to who asked, ‘Who is ISIS, and what do they do?’, which I find terrifying that my peers aren’t necessarily aware of what’s going on globally, and also things that the U.S. has had a hand in for a decade at least,” he said.

One problem MUCK ISIS had preparing for the event was actually obtaining an Islamic State flag. Paris said several businesses refused to make the flag, so they had to make one by hand.

“One primary reason (MUCK ISIS is making the flag by hand) is we wanted to make sure that none of the money we use to buy the flag goes to ISIS,” he said. “We felt that was imperative.”

Another significant aspect of the demonstration is the location. Because of the passage of Campus Free Speech Act, which banned “free speech zones,” MUCK ISIS and other groups are no longer restricted to Speakers Circle when holding peaceful protests.

“Logistically, we don’t want to burn something in Speakers Circle, because people are going through there constantly,” Lund-Molfese said. “So, we’re burning it on the Quad, and we’re going to have several people with fire extinguishers who are going to make sure that we’re not setting anything on fire.”

Paris said the event was “acknowledging the fact that free speech is no longer restricted on campus,” in addition to protesting U.S. involvement and Islamic State actions.

“The burning of the flag is to exercise and promote freedom of speech, and to show people that we as Americans have the natural right to stand up for what we believe in,” YAL and MUCK ISIS member Jacob John Hajicek said in an email.

MUCK ISIS had to obtain a permit to burn the flag as well as to operate the two grills they will use to cook hamburgers and hotdogs.

Paris said he hoped the event would create a lasting impact.

“We’re hoping to not only initiate the dialogue, but also to take steps to make sure that dialogue reaches the ears of Washington,” he said. “You can expect us to come together, not only for this, but also as events change in the Middle East to discuss what we should do, say for example ISIS is finally eradicated.”

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