Islamic Center of Irving

Armed Protesters Rally Outside Texas Islamic Center of Irving: ‘We Do Want To Show Force’

A dozen of armed protesters rallied outside the Islamic Center of Irving, Texas on Saturday, calling for an end to the “Islamization of America” in response to rumors about Syrian refugees and Sharia court.

Protest organizer David Wright told the Dallas Morning News that the weapons were mainly for “self-protection,” but noted that “we do want to show force. We’re not sitting ducks.”

The town of Irving was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when police arrested a fourteen-year-old Muslim student who brought a homemade clock to school, accusing him of constructing a bomb.

According to Wright, who is a member of a group which calls itself the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, protesters were upset by rumors that the mosque may be operating a sharia court as well as the government’s plan to bring Syrian refugees to the U.S. Wright also said that members of the local Muslim community lodged death threats against Irving Mayor Beth Duyne earlier this year — a claim The Dallas Morning News concluded that there was “no evidence” to support.

One masked protester dressed in black walked down the sidewalk with a rifle, according to video taken outside the mosque.

The mosque posted a statement on Facebook advising members of the community to ignore the protesters. City Council member David Palmer stopped by the protest after hearing about it from a concerned member of the mosque.

“My initial impression was they were using them for intimidation,” Palmer told, told the Dallas Morning News. “I doubt that they’d be happy if some of the Muslim churchgoers here showed up at their Christian church, their Baptist church, their Methodist church tomorrow morning with rifles slung over their shoulders.”

Saturday’s protest comes at a time of escalating anti-Islamic and anti-refugee rhetoric in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris that left more than 120 dead. 31 Republican and Democratic governors in the U.S. have publicly sworn to stop accepting Syrian refugees, while GOP presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, have suggested only accepting Christian refugees. France, on the other hand, pledged to welcome 30,000 refugees over the next two years, despite concerns from ultra-right nationalist leaders.

“We don’t want people to think we’re out to kill people or shoot people,” Wright told The News. However, he added, “It would be ridiculous to protest Islam without defending ourselves.”

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