The organizers of the "Islam on Capitol Hill" event last Friday came only about 47,000 people short of their goal of bringing 50,000 Muslims to Washington to pray in front of the Capitol building. Although the event received a great deal of publicity, it didn't receive the backing of the leading American Muslim advocacy groups -- the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council – and apparently that was enough to keep it from drawing Muslims to Capitol Hill in the numbers the organizers would have liked.
Nonetheless, the event went on, peacefully, under skies that initially threatened rain but then turned brilliantly sunny. Still, it was a huge missed opportunity for American Muslims, and not just because the turnout was far smaller than expected.
Organizer Hassen Abdellah had explained before the event that it was designed "to show we are not terrorists, but that most of us Muslims here love America and abide by its laws." And it took place against a backdrop of a sharp increase in violent jihad activity in the United States. In the week leading up to the Islam on Capitol Hill prayer meeting, two Muslims, including an imam, were arrested for their alleged roles in an elaborate plot involving numerous other Muslims in New York City and Denver, who were evidently planning a major jihad attack at a sports stadium.