Chants of "Death to America" at Michigan Pro-Palestine Rally Spark Outrage

Videos that captured chants of "death to America" and "death to Israel" by some attendees and speakers of rallies in Dearborn, Michigan, and Houston, Texas, held on April 5 went viral on social media, emphasizing tensions over American support for Israel in its war against Hamas that began after the deadly attack on October 7th that killed 1,200 Israelis.

The rallies were held during the International Day of Al-Quds, an annual, international event created by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in 1979, shortly after the Iranian Revolution, to express support for Palestine and Palestinians and oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. 

During the event, which usually takes place on the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, large rallies are held, which typically begin after the communal Friday prayers. Some observers argue that the Islamic Republic initiated the yearly event to advance its political interests of using proxies to fight against Israel, the United States, and other Western powers and allies.

The Dearborn rally, streamed live on on Facebook, took place in front of the Henry Ford Centennial Library on the city’s Michigan Avenue. People in the rally held Palestinian flags and yellow signs that read, "Money for jobs and education, not for Israel's occupation." Two speakers from the city’s Hadi Institute were also present at the event.

One of them is Michigan activist Tarek Bazzi, who organized the Dearborn rally. Bazzi said that it is not just "Genocide Joe,” referring to President Joe Biden, that needs to go, but the entire system of the United States. Quoting Malcolm X, Bazzi described America as “one of the rottenest countries that has ever existed on this earth,” adding that “death to Israel" has become the "most logical chant shouted across the world today."

The crowd also chanted "Free, Free Palestine" and "End the occupation now" along with "Death to America!" and “Death to Israel!” during the rally. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) transcribed Bazzi’s speech from the live stream and reported that one clip was viewed 2.6 million times by late April 6th. The video came just two months after Steven Stalinsky, MEMRI’s executive director, called Dearborn “America’s Jihad Capital” in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, which drew condemnation from both local Dearborn leaders and even President Biden himself.

However, rallies commemorating Al-Quds Day did not just occur in Dearborn, Michigan. A rally was also held in front of the Israeli consulate in Houston, Texas, where speakers praised the October 7 attacks and discussed martyrdom, resistance, and Jihad. Videos of the Houston rally were uploaded to Sayed Sarim's YouTube channel, transcribed, and shared by MEMRI.

One of the rally’s speakers referenced a speech made by Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah, on March 29th, telling the audience to recognize that "martyrdom is good, martyrdom is a goal. [...] martyrdom is Jihad."

Similar to the rally in Dearborn, the Houston rally was also full of chants, with participants shouting slogans such as "Resistance is the only way!" "Flood of Al-Aqsa, Flood of Al-Aqsa! We are with the Intifada! On the streets, we will flood... Honoring the Martyrs' blood!" and "HPD [Houston Police Department], KKK, IDF – they're all the same!" The rally participants also wore t-shirts emblazoned with "Flood of the Free," the slogan chosen by the Iranian regime for the 2024 International Al-Quds Day.

The chants were denounced, with Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud condemning the Al-Quds Day rally in the city, saying that “the hateful rhetoric heard on Friday does not reflect the opinion of the members of this community."

"We reject all inflammatory and violent statements made at the gathering," Hammoud posted on X, formerly Twitter. "The Dearborn community stands for peace and justice for all people. We are proud to call this city and this country home."

If you like our posts, subscribe to the Atheist Republic newsletter to get exclusive content delivered weekly to your inbox. Also, get the book "Why There is No God" for free.

Click Here to Subscribe

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.