This Saturday, a group of armed protesters gathered outside of a Mosque in Irving, Texas. The group, which consisted of individuals of all ages, stood in front of the Islamic Community Center with hand-made signs that warned against the “Islamization of America” while prominently displayed their weapons.
Several in the group, which calls itself “The Bureau of American Islamic Relations,” hid their faces with masks and waved homemade signs, banners for Tea Party candidates like Ted Cruz, and American flags along with their guns.
The protesters marched around the mosque for several hours. Muslims who were entering the center kept their distance from the protestors, who were ordered to stay 100 feet away while police were on site. Most worshippers simply ignored the protestors, although several watched the spectacle. At one point, the protestors mocked an Arabic song that a member of the mosque defiantly blasted from their car stereo as the left the parking lot.
The group’s leader, David Wright, started the protest in response to several rumors. Wright and other group members heard that the mosque was conducting an illegal Sharia court — a court that rules on Islamic law — and made death threats against Mayor Beth Van Duyne. Both rumors are have been widely written off as falsehoods.
When asked about the group’s weapons, Wright said that they were “mostly for self protection.”
“But I’m not going to lie. We do want to show force. We’re not sitting ducks,” he added.
Armed Demonstration in front of the Islamic Center of Irving focused on stopping "Islamization of America" pic.twitter.com/iRQI4eqPjO
— Zahid Arab (@ZahidArabFox4) November 21, 2015
The Bureau of American Islamic Relations made headlines earlier this year after accusing Ahmed Mohammad, the teenager arrested for his homemade clock, of making a “hoax bomb.” Wright attempted to alert the mosque of the armed protest, but simply showed up with the group after his calls were not returned.
Mayor Van Duyne launched herself into the national spotlight by promoting the rumor that the Islamic Center of Irving was starting a Sharia court, and warned that Islam would destroy America “from within.”
Leaders of the community center and mosque instructed the worshippers not to engage the protestors in any way. Some people watched the protest from outside of the mosque, but when approached by reporters they only offered variations of “no comment,” while some even praised the ability to exercise free speech.
Featured image via Twitter