Garland police increased security plans for the Islamic conference earlier in the week after people made threats on social media towards the event.
On Saturday, the protest remained peaceful. The Garland Police Department reported no incidents or arrests and only had to intervene to cool tempers between protesters and event supporters on a couple occasions.
The event, sponsored by the Chicago-based Islamic organization called Sound Vision, stirred controversy due to two of its guest speakers.
Aledia Levier of Garland said she came to protest because she was disappointed Garland ISD, which owns the Culwell Center, rented out its facility for this event.
“Everyone has the freedom of religion and freedom of speech but I’m not real happy that is was approved simple because of the speakers,” explained Levier.
Earlier in the week, school officials explained that it does not discriminate against facility renters based on religion and has rented out the Culwell Center to other religious groups in the past.
Protesters were met on the sidewalks outside the Culwell Center by a much small group rallying in support of the Islamic conference.
“They’re misinformed.” explained Alif Arham about the protesters. “I contribute that to ourselves. We are not doing enough to communicate our message to them.”
Event organizers said the goal of Saturday’s conference was to address “Islamophobia” and bridge the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Judging by the streets outside the Culwell Center on Saturday, the gap for some appears to both wide and divisive.
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