HOLMBERG: It won’t be a million Muslims or bikers colliding in Washington

Posted at 12:29 AM, Sep 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-11 07:10:26-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Ever since the first Million Man March on October 16, 1995, marchers have failed to hit the million mark. Most don’t even come within sniffing distance.

Such will be the case with Wednesday’s  Million Muslim March, now called the “Million American March Against Fear.”

They may be close to a million short of hitting the mark.

And the “2 Million Biker” rally in response? It too, will be some zeroes off, although you can bet they will outnumber the Muslim marchers by a super-wide margin, despite depictions of a looming showdown.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of central Virginia bikers will be gathering at the Northside Richmond Harley Davidson dealership on Route 1 in Elmont starting at about 6 a.m. Wednesday. They’re scheduled to pull out at 7 a.m.

The group behind the march that started all this is the Muslim American Political Action Committee.  The organizer has said Muslims continue to be victimized and portrayed as villains 12 years after 9/11.

That organizer and the event isn’t widely supported by the Muslim community here or, apparently,  across the country.

Imam Ammar Amonette with the Islamic Center of Virginia said, “I don’t think it’s a very good idea. I don’t think we want to draw that kind of negative attention to our community, or associate our community with that particular date on the calendar.”

He said it invites a negative reaction.

The Muslim marchers  do have a permit, but the park service rejected the biker’s  “no-stop” permit that would have allowed them to glide through the capital with intersections  blocked and red lights ignored, like the annual “Rolling Thunder” weekend ride to keep POW and MIA soldiers in the nation’s consciousness.

The problem – Wednesday’s event is on a weekday and would tangle traffic.

But the bikers are perfectly free to roll through town – as many deep as they’d like – as long as they obey the law.

It will be interesting to see how many show up.

My prediction? 5,000 marchers, 55,000 bikers. How about you? (I might ride up myself and have a look.)

(And dang, 12 years have blown past since 9/11?)

It’s supposed to be a fairly nice, hot day. Maybe the riders and marchers can get together to kick the tires on this whole 9/11, living in America thing.