A routine meeting about plans to build a mosque turned into an ugly racist display when at least two men stood up and started screaming insults at Muslims attending the meeting.
Samer Shalaby, a civil engineer and member of the Islamic Center of Fredericksburg, was discussing plans for the new worship center at a Spotsylvania County meeting, on property the Muslim community owns, WUSA9 reports.
Video of the meeting shows a burly man yelling and pointing his finger at Shalaby.
“Every one of you are terrorists, I don’t care what you say,” he yells. “Every Muslim is a terrorist.”
He also tells Shalaby, “Shut your mouth. I don’t want to hear your mouth. I will do everything that I can do to keep you from doing what you’re doing. It will happen. That will happen.”
Another American flag and hat-wearing man is also seen yelling and pointing at Shalaby, who is holding a poster board with a building outline.
“This is evil,” the man shouts.
“It was almost like a mob-type thing,” Shalaby told WUSA9. The Muslim community has been at the same location for about 30 years.
“It is so sad that people are so ignorant,” said Munira Salim Abdalla, who was also at the meeting. “I understand the fear. All of us have fear, including the Muslims, because the people who did what they did are not Muslims.”
WUSA9 reports some at the meeting were concerned that the mosque would take in Syrian refugees, a group that has become the new target of fear mongering since the terrorist attacks on Paris last week.
“Then why did your grandparents come here,” Salim Abdalla said. “For religious persecution, and that’s exactly what you’re doing to us.”
A Sheriff’s deputy was forced to end the meeting early because the insults wouldn’t stop, WUSA reports.
“You keep hoping that, as we evolve in this country, that we will not completely put a blanket designation on any group… especially for religion,” Shalaby told the Freelance Star.
Shalaby told the Star that plans to build the mosque will continue, despite meeting bigotry at the meeting. It has several levels of government approval to get through before the project can commence.
But Shalaby told WUSA that the meeting left some in the Muslim community fearful to practice their religion, and some parents said they will not send their children to Sunday school out of safety concerns.
Watch comments at the meeting, as posted by WUSA, here: