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RICHARDSON (CBS11) — A North Texas mosque is defending itself after protesters gathered outside and made serious allegations against its members.
Police arrested one protester outside the mosque for carrying a concealed handgun without a permit, but the group that organized the rally insists that man is not one of its members.
Protesters came heavily armed as they held signs and assembled in front of the Islamic Association of North Texas. Among the issues the event’s organizer stressed was his group’s opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into America.
“If I was running ISIS, I’d have half a dozen every day joining in the group, or more,” David Wright said. “Hey y’all all get into that flow of refugees, and head on out to America, Muhammad jihad! That’s what I’d be telling them if I was running that group.”
Supporters of the mosque outnumbered the protesters. The two groups mainly stayed on opposite sides of Centennial Boulevard, but two counter-protesters did cross the street to confront the demonstrators.
“Your suggestion is to ban all those women and all those children and even men that are coming across here seeking freedom, seeking safety, ban them because just maybe one of you could hurt somebody,” counter-protester Melissa Yassini said to Wright.
“I think it’s more than just maybe. I think it’s more of a question of how many instead of just maybe,” Wright responded.
Wright says his group, Bureau on American Islamic Relations, or B.A.I.R., chose the Richardson mosque because they believe its members have ties to other organizations that support Hamas.
“We’re here because this mosque has a history of funding terrorism,” Wright said.
It’s a claim the mosque’s leadership has consistently denied in public statements condemning terrorism.
“If our mosque was truly a conspirator in something that was illegal of terrorist activities, we would have been closed down, so it’s clear that there’s no such association, that we are innocent,” Islamic Association of North Texas’ Imam Shpendim Nadzaku said.
Regarding the protester who was arrested, Wright said he held a pre-protest meeting with his members to go over rules and that his group does not condone carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
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