Peace Rally Draws Big Crowd Outside Islamic Center of Irving

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IRVING, TX -- In the cold, damp day she stood, surrounded by like-minded people.

"We’re just out here showing love to people who have been shown a lot of hate in our community, especially recently," Tonya Cadenhead told NewsFix. "We just want to make sure they realize Irving’s not a place of hate and fear; it’s a place of love and understanding.”

Tonya's message of peace started with an idea, a simple post on Facebook. “I put together an event page and started trying to recruit my friends, and before I knew it, it had become a state-wide event and had people coming from all over."

The group in attendance came armed with signs clearly aimed at last week’s protesters. Last Saturday, a small group known as BAIR, or the Bureau on American-Islamic Relations, gathered in front of the Islamic Center of Irving.

Their message was more direct.

"We are showing support for Ted Cruz or any other presidential candidate who’s willing to stand up against Islamisation of America,” BAIR member David Wright told NewsFix one week ago.

"We are protesting Islam in front of a mosque, that’s pretty dangerous these says, so we want to be able to defend ourselves,” Wright explained of his gun.

On this day, those who attended the peace rally stood in support of their Islamic friends and against hate in the community.

"There’s a lot more people who’ll support our neighbors, than bring guns over and try and discourage them,” Irving resident and supporter Mark McKee said.

"[BAIR] has their rights, I have mine and it’s about time I got out and tell people mine, instead of sitting at home and not liking it," supporter Jeanne Reyer added.

What started as a post, lead to a movement, one Tonya hopes will continue to spread respect and love throughout North Texas.

"We’re going to start a group and the more people who show hate in the DFW communities, we’re going to follow up and show love.”