GARLAND, Texas — Hundreds protested on Saturday outside of a Muslim conference in Garland, Texas that was intended to combat American “Islamophobia.”
“Stand With the Prophet Against Terror and Hate” was held at the Curtis Culwell Center on Saturday and was reportedly a sold out event.
“Frustrated with Islamophobes defaming the prophet? Fuming over extremists like ISIS who give a bad name to Islam? Remember the Danish cartoons defaming the prophet? Or the anti-Islam film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’? These attacks are no accident,” the website for the event reads.
“Prophet Muhammad inspires love and devotion in the hearts of Muslims, peace be upon him; unfortunately, Islamophobes have turned him into an object of hate,” it continues. “Hate groups in the U.S. have invested at least $160 million dollars to attack our prophet and Islam. Isn’t it time we invested in defending our faith?”
Special speakers at the event included Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who according to the Washington Post was an “unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center” bombing,” and Georgetown University professor John Esposito, founder of the university’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
“Stand With the Prophet” was to serve as a fundraising effort for a communications center meant to combat Islamophobia.
But hundreds of protesters from across the country showed up outside of the event, holding signs, waving flags and delivering speeches. Some stated that they were upset that the Garland Independent School District had allowed the group to use the building, as the district runs the Curtis Culwell Center.
“I certainly don’t think you need people there who want to destroy this country,” one man told local television station WFAA.
The school district said that it couldn’t prohibit the building from being used for the event because that would be considered discrimination.
One of the local residents who protested outside of the event was Vietnam veteran Jeff Higgins, who lost both legs while serving in the Armed Forces. He told WND that he was concerned that “Islam was gaining a foothold in Garland.”
“This is my backyard,” Higgins stated. “We live under the American law, not Shariah law and I know that ultimately, that’s their goal, is to bring Shariah law to America. This is the first kind of, in-your-face attempt to do that. I know they’ll say this is about peace, but peace means submission to them.”
Tim Lee, who also is a Vietnam veteran, also told the publication that he feared what might become of the nation in light of the insurgency of Islam.
“America was built upon God and the word of God, not Allah, not Muhammad.” He said. “The Muslim religion is a religion of death. They kill people, innocent people, little children, chop heads off, and we are going to bring this to Garland, Texas?”
Others held signs such as “Get Islam out of our schools,” “No Allah in America” and “You are entering a Sharia-free zone.” One sign posted in the ground quoted from the words of Christ in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but by Me.”