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Portland June 10 March Against Sharia Canceled

<p>Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks with citizens at the Hollywood vigil.</p>

Bradley W. Parks


Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks with citizens at the Hollywood vigil.

A local offshoot of a national anti-Sharia law rally planned for Portland on June 10 has been canceled, according to the event's organizer. In a post on the Portland March Against Sharia Facebook event page, organizer Scott Ryan Presler said he has decided to cancel the Portland event after what he described as a "blatant attempt to suppress freedom of discourse" by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Debate raged about the planned rally following the fatal stabbing of two men on a TriMet light-rail train Friday. The two men and a third victim who survived the stabbing intervened when a 35-year-old Portland resident, Jeremy Christian, began shouting anti-Muslim epithets at two teenage girls on the train, one of whom was wearing a hijab. Christian has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder, among other crimes.

Wheeler had called on the federal government to refuse a permit for the rally, which was to take place at Terry D. Schrunk Plaza on Saturday, June 10. The park is on federal property and therefore falls under the federal government's jurisdiction.

"Just because something is constitutional and legal doesn’t make it responsible,” Wheeler told OPB Tuesday. “Given where this city is now, in terms of the mourning we’re going through collectively, the anger that is currently focused on what I would describe as the alt-right, this is not the right time for those groups to come into our community and hold a rally.”

In the Facebook post, Presler lamented what he said were shameful comments by Wheeler about the rally and the group behind it. Presler took issue with Wheeler's description of the group behind the rally as "alt-right."

"Our March Against Sharia includes all religions, genders, sexual orientations, and walks of life," Pressler wrote.

"Consequently, in order to ensure the safety of those who had planned on attending, we have taken the decision to cancel the Portland March Against Sharia."

Presler said another version of the event planned for Seattle is still set to happen.

Wheeler has also requested that the federal government revoke a permit for a free speech, pro-Trump rally planned for the same park Sunday, June 4. That rally is still scheduled to take place.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Bryan M. Vance