A Texas Anti-Islam group staged an armed protest outside a Dallas Islamic centre last week. The group known as the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, posted names and addresses of Muslims and “Muslim sympathisers” on its Facebook page.
Racial tensions in the wake of the Paris attacks and comments by politicians, have added to the tense relations between Texan Muslims and gun-toting members of the Bureau of American Islamic Relations.
The Guardian reports:
The group, which calls itself the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, staged an armed protest outside an Islamic centre in the Dallas suburb of Irving last Saturday. “We’re here protesting Syrian refugees coming to America, protesting the Islamisation of America,” David Wright, a spokesman, told local FOX4 News.
The list of more than 50 names is taken from a record of people who spoke or signed up to express an opinion at an Irving city council meeting in March where the council voted to endorse a planned state bill emphasising the already enshrined primacy of domestic laws above foreign laws.
Many Muslims in the community felt targeted by the event, which came after the Irving mayor, Beth Van Duyne, made waves in the rightwing media by making references to an Islamic dispute mediation panel that wrongly became characterised as an “illegal Sharia court”.
Alia Salem, executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said the atmosphere at last week’s protest was “very threatening. They had AR-15 [rifles], they had their faces covered.” The open carrying of long guns is legal in Texas.
Since the Paris attacks on 13 November, Salem said, CAIR has “gotten a large increase in hate-crime reporting”. She said that she herself had twice been verbally abused. Feces and torn pages of the Koran were thrown at a mosque in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville.
CAIR’s national headquarters in Washington issued a statement saying it “has received more reports about acts of Islamophobic discrimination, intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslim) and Islamic institutions in the past week and a half than during any other limited period of time since the 9/11 terror attacks”.
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