Cultures may clash or even collide in the Dallas area Saturday when pro-Islam, anti-Muslim, armed protesters, and pacifists demonstrate at two area hotbed mosques. One mosque is in Irving, former home to ‘Clock Boy’ Ahmed, and the other, in Richardson.
On December 12, two pro-Muslim groups will join forces at the Islamic Center of Irving, as Breitbart Texas previously reported. Irving has been the hotspot for Islamic protests and tensions since the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, the teen who cried Islamophobia after getting arrested for bringing into school a homemade clock in a box mistaken for a hoax bomb.
On the other side of Dallas, the Richardson planned protest heats up with a new entrant, a group called the “Anti-Bureau of American Islamic Relations” (Anti-BAIR).
Formed online November 22, the day after armed protesters from the Bureau of American Islamic Relations (BAIR), demonstrated outside of the Islamic Center of Irving, the Anti-BAIR also nicknamed “BAIR Trapper,” will come to the Richardson mosque where BAIR plans to protest armed also on December 12.
Breitbart Texas spoke with Anti-BAIR organizer Patrick Kelly, who said his group will not hold an armed-counter protest but “…be available as escorts for those being intimidated by BAIR should the mosque want us to perform those duties. The last thing that we want is an escalation at one of these events and we certainly wouldn’t want to cause problems for the members of the mosque.”
He emphasized the peaceful Anti-BAIR “exists purely to ensure that the rights of our Constitution are fully extended to the people that BAIR is protesting.” Kelly called his group pro-U.S. Constitution. He identified himself as a former U.S. Marine who served from 2005-12, and as a Christian who lives in the area.
“Basically, it boils down to the rights of Americans and immigrants to be able to practice their religion without having to navigate a gauntlet of armed protestors,” he said. “I don’t want my children having to deal with that and I don’t think anyone else does as well.”
He told Breitbart Texas that if BAIR were protesting visibly armed at a Christian, Jewish or other religious house of worship, Anti-BAIR’s response would be the same as he has planned for the mosque. His beef with BAIR is that they operate off of emotion, which he called “understandable but unwise.” The former Marine believes that approach does not “improve the issues of radicalization” and may make things worse. He likened BAIR to government officials who rationalized Japanese internment camps during WWII.
Kelly insists he sympathizes with BAIR, but he feels they go “off the rails” in an approach that intimidates people he believes are unarmed at their place of worship and denies them “the right to practice their religion free from persecution.” Anti-BAIR does not plan to publicly post identifiable information about participants out of concern that BAIR will publish them. On the Facebook event page, Kelly asks participants who choose to carry, to do so legally and concealed.
The Richardson mosque will conduct their regularly scheduled services Saturday. Imam Shpendim Nadzaku at the Richardson mosque told Breitbart Texas they intend to hold a press conference that day to address this matter. Breitbart Texas also spoke to Richardson police department spokesman Adam Perry, who said to expect a police presence. Although all protesters are free to be in a public place, officers will clarify “what the rules are” so that demonstrations remain “in the boundaries of the law.”
At the Irving mosque, one of the participating pro-Muslim groups, We are America Peace Rally, canceled last weekend’s protest when Tea Partiers decided to rally and instead, joined the Dec. 12 United Against Racism|Hate demonstration for an “all Anti-KKK, Anti-Nazism, Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist and Anti-Hate Activists” event. Originally, the KKK intended to counter-protest them but since rescheduled their mosque rally for May 2016.
Breitbart Texas also reported that Streets Organizing for Liberation (SOL), a United Against Racism sponsor, considers itself an “organization of Left community and labor organizers who are guided by a vision for a decolonized, socialistic future.” The Irving mosque-held event sponsors include the Dallas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Dallas County Democratic Party, Dallas MoveOn Council, Muslims for Social Justice, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, Iraq Veterans Against the War, five area churches, and one synagogue.
Officials hope violent clashes will not erupt on Saturday. Thus far, none have in any of the Dallas area protests/counter-protests.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.
This article has been updated since its publication.