RICHARDSON — Just down the street from an angry town hall meeting with Congressman Pete Sessions, it was a war of both words and weapons.
On one side of the street, a group called Bureau of Islamic-American Relations (B.A.I.R.) intended to from an armed protest of the Islamic Association of North Texas.
“People at this mosque over here are raising money for terrorists and sending it overseas. They’re finished,” said B.A.I.R. leader David Wright. “It’s over. Obama is gone. Your free ride is done.”
On the other side of the street in front of the mosque stood a self-described peaceful wall.
“For him to make those accusations is ridiculous,” said counter-protest leader Omair Siddiqi. “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.'”
But it was a third group, in head-to-toe black, that threw the entire thing off track.
“Nazi scum! Nazi scum!” the group of 15-20 mostly young adults screamed at the five B.A.I.R. protesters, blocking them from leaving a parking lot across the street from the mosque.
They called themselves socialists, and though they refused to show their faces or talk directly to the media, they definitely weren’t timid.
“The world would be better if you were (obscenity) dead,” one said to a B.A.I.R. member.
“You are a (obscenity) racist! Admit that (obscenity)! Own it!” another member yelled at that same person.
At one point, Siddiqi came over to the third group, asking them to let his protest opponents through so that everyone could protest peacefully.
The group disagreed, with one member telling Siddiqi, “This is a separate rally. We’re not accountable to, or necessarily with, the main demonstration although we consider ourselves allies. Think about it practically. We’re keeping the fascists hiding in a parking lot behind a ring of police. They’re not able to go over there and demonstrate.”
The whole thing amounted to a war of words that silenced both the anti-Muslim and the pro-Muslim protesters.
“It’s really very counter productive, and it makes me mad that they think they can come here as a third party and just hi-jack the event,” Siddiqi said.
Can’t we all just get along?