Texans outraged that armed protesters harassed the local Muslim community in Irving last week by surrounding the community’s mosque, held their own demonstration to show support for their neighbors.
About 200 well wishers gathered outside the Islamic Center of Irving to decry the demonstration last week, according to the Dallas Morning News. The number far exceeded the anti-Muslim crowd of about a dozen last Saturday.
“It turned my stomach,” Bob Maryan told the News, speaking of the demonstration last week.
Demonstrator Chuck Smith held a sign with a photograph of one of last week’s masked male protesters, armed with a long gun, following a Muslim woman. On it, Smith had written the words, “Brave? Really?”
“It just made me so angry to see Americans who call themselves brave patriots threatening women and children,” he told local Fox4.
Irving has made national news this year because of paranoia over its Muslim residents. In September, a 14-year-old Muslim schoolboy was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school. He was accused of making a “hoax bomb.”
The mayor of Irving, Beth Van Duyne, had made a name for herself by whipping up bogus fear about a “Sharia court” at the mosque.
At last week’s demonstration, some had signs that read, “Stop the Islamization of America.”
“I am tired of being represented by hate groups and I just want to let people know not all of Irving is like that,” Jeremy Michell told Fox4.
Video of the demonstration shows a sidewalk full of people standing in the cold holding signs while cars honked their support. Inside the mosque, religious leaders had invited supporters in for coffee, cookies and chicken Shwarma. They were also invited to watch the Muslim community in prayer.
“Holding guns where little kids study … it’s just being a coward,” Maleeha Aziz, 22, told the News.
Watch video of supporters, as posted to Twitter, here:
VIDEO:Sidewalk full of people outside the Islamic center of Irving show their support for the local Muslim community pic.twitter.com/3G9DA3S1Z1
— Zahid Arab (@ZahidArabFox4) November 28, 2015