We're just saying what Islam is and what Islam is not, Hanad Duale, one of six Muslims who organized the rally, told Boston Globe on Monday, August 19.
We're trying to educate the public that probably doesn't know more that what they've heard from media and from propaganda.
The Muslims for Peace rally scheduled was organized on Sunday afternoon.
Participants, estimated by about 25, held signs reading, Muslims for Peace, Muslims for Love, and Judge Others Not By Their Faith But By The Content Of Their Character.
Another protester held a copy of the Noble Qur'an in his hand.
According to organizers, four women and two men, it came as a reaction to recent violence, including the Boston Marathon bombings in April and the killing of a soldier in London in May, which was associated to Islam.
Both attacks were vehemently condemned by Muslim scholars in both the US and UK, including imam Suhaib Webb, the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Culture Center, who condemned the attacks as un-Islamic.
Organizing the rally, Duale said he and his friends gathered about $350 for a permit and audio equipment themselves.
Their personal connections were used later to spread the word about the event.
Since the 9/11 attacks, US Muslims, estimated between 6-8 million, have complained of discrimination and stereotypes because of their Islamic attires or identities.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center after Boston bombing has found that 42 percent of Americans believe that Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence.
These figures were much worse than those measured after the 9/11 attacks.
A Pew survey in March 2002, just six months after the 9/11 attacks, found that 25 percent of Americans said Islam was more likely to encourage violence, with 51 percent disagreeing.
For American Muslims, the rally brought Islam closer to Boston streets.
It's like a crash course for people who walk by, people who wouldn't normally associate themselves with this [Islam], said Najma Abdullahi, wearing a blue hijab, or headscarf, and bright yellow pants.
Abdullahi, 24, a scientific recruiter who lives in Waltham, said she came to support her sister Naima Abdullahi, one of the organizers.
At this point in time, I feel like everyone has their own understanding or stereotype and whatnot. Maybe they can break those down or listen, Abdullahi added, holding a sign reading Islam Teaches Me Peace.
Her sister, 23-year-old Naima of Cambridge, spoke about some of her favorite Qur'an verses that promote peacefulness.
They've been all verses that I've been living my life based on, Naima Abdullihi said.
Gisela Tscheke of Melrose was one of the passersby who saw the rally as she waited for her family members, visiting from Germany, to go sightseeing.
I never thought every Muslim is a terrorist but I know it happens, so it [the rally] might be necessary and important, Tscheke said.
She praised the idea as creating a better understanding for Muslims in the community.
Most people just walk by, Tscheke said.
But still, it's good to see. When we see the women covered in the clothing and the men [in traditional garb], and they don't do dangerous things, maybe this alone helps. But I'm not sure. I don't know.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net