A normally peaceful scene outside a mosque in Irving, Texas, turned strange on Saturday. Irving recently made headlines as the home of “clock kid” Ahmed Mohmed, who — after quite the ordeal involving his homemade time piece — announced that his family is moving to Qatar after he accepted a full scholarship there. Now more drama has arrived in Irving.
Fox 4 news reporter Zahid Arab tweeted the above video of (at least a dozen) protesters marching with guns and holding slogan and Ted Cruz campaign signs. One chunk of protesters spoke to Arab to reveal how they call themselves the “Anti-CAIR” (Council on American-Islamic Relations). Zahid also posted a number of other photos of the day’s events. Mainly, the protest involved a group brandishing guns and American flags, but the organizer spoke with Dallas Morning News to articulate the group’s full intent:
More than a dozen armed protesters gathered outside the Islamic Center of Irving this afternoon, upset about plans to let in Syrian refugees as well as online rumors of a Sharia court at the mosque.
Dressed all in black with a tactical shotgun on his hip, organizer David Wright said the weapons were “mostly for self-protection. But I’m not going to lie. We do want to show force. We’re not sitting ducks. … We don’t want people to think we’re out to kill people or shoot people,” Wright said as dozens of Muslim worshipers and students at the Islamic school pulled out of the parking lot past him, some standing in groups to stare at the protests in wonderment. “It would be ridiculous to protest Islam without defending ourselves.”
Wright and his followers call themselves Bureau of American Islamic Relations, and they organized this protest in response to the Friday the 13th Paris Terror Attacks. Wright says his group worries over the possibility of Islamic terrorism in the United States. They’re also worked up over the Syrian refugee crisis and align themselves with the GOP’s stances on the issue.
The day concluded with the protesters filing home at around 4pm after watching Muslim worshipers make their way in and out of the mosque. The two groups didn’t come within 100 feet of each other, thanks in part to a police detail.