It seems like absolutely nobody liked each other at a recent armed protest in Richardson, Texas. Anti-mosque opponents, mosque supporters, and even a socialist group faced off on Saturday in front of the Islamic Association of North Texas.
It went down like this. First, you’ve got the Bureau of Islamic-American Relations (BAIR), who claim the Islamic Association of North Texas is somehow contributing to terrorism. They even showed up to the mosque with firearms.
“People at this mosque over here are raising money for terrorists and sending it overseas. They’re finished,” leader David Wright told CW 33 in a Saturday report. “It’s over. Obama is gone. Your free ride is done.”
Then you’ve got counter-protesters, who said that claim is absurd.
“For him to make those accusations is ridiculous,” counter-protest leader Omar Siddiqi told the outlet. “I was like, ‘Dude, if you find anywhere in documentation that this mosque has funded any terrorist organization overseas, I’ll come stand with you.'”
Then you’ve got up to 20 people in a third group. Masked counter-protesters described themselves as socialists, and squared off against BAIR, cursing them out and insulting them. “Nazi Scum!” they chanted. This group blocked the anti-mosque people from leaving a parking lot.
But Siddiqi said this third group didn’t help matters.
“It’s really very counterproductive, and it makes me mad that they think they can come here as a third party and just hi-jack the event,” he said.
The group refused Siddiqi’s request they get out of BAIR’s way. One member argued that they’re keeping “the fascists hiding in a parking lot behind a ring of police. They’re not able to go over there and demonstrate.”
This is a long-running dispute: BAIR showed up at the same place in December 2015. Mosque leaders have denied any wrongdoing.
Nonethless, after the Saturday protest, representatives for BAIR and the mosque broke bread at a nearby restaurant. Both sides were pleased with the meeting, according to a NBCDFW report. Now they’re planning a joint march against ISIS.
The masked protesters refused to speak on camera, according to CW 33.
“They were all tough until they actually got close to us and then they just screamed and cried like babies,” stated a Monday morning post from what seems to be BAIR’s official Facebook page. “They damn sure didn’t beat us up like they do the average Trump supporter holding a sign. They didn’t throw one punch, imagine that.”
BAIR claimed to know the identities of the masked counterprotesters, and named one of them. That post ended with this [name omitted, and punctuation maintained]: “We will be seeing them again very soon, we know who all of them are now. starting with ——–, see you soon ——-.”
We reached out to them for comment, and will update with any response. We also asked the Richardson Police Department for comment about the Saturday protest, and that BAIR Facebook post.
“The protest and counter protests were conducted in Richardson on 3/18/17 without incident,” police spokesman Sergeant Kevin Perlich told Law Newz. “There were no arrests. We did not experience any problems at the scene of the protest involving either BAIR or those opposing them.”
This statement did not mention the Facebook post.
[Screengrab via CW 33]