A band of armed protesters gathered at the Islamic Center mosque of Irving, Texas, on Saturday, holding signs that said "Stop the Islamization of America" and "Ted Cruz" for president.
According to The Dallas Morning News
, some of the dozen or so protesters drove more than an hour from Hunt County to attend the protest.
The group called themselves the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, or BAIR, a likely allusion to the Council on American–Islamic Relations, or CAIR.
One of the protesters, David Wright, armed with a tactical shotgun, said that they had gathered to protest President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's calls for settling 10,000 or more Syrian refugees in the U.S.
"They’re mostly for self-defense or protection," Wright said, eying his 12-gauge. "But I’m not going to lie. We do want to show force . . . It would be ridiculous to protest Islam without defending ourselves."
Furthermore, Wright said, they were inspired by the Islamist terror attacks in Paris earlier this month, as well as what he said was the Irving mosque's establishment of the country's first Islamic court.
According to The Washington Post
, the so-called Islamic court is actually an organization providing non-binding arbitration and mediation using Islamic principles — not a sharia court.
Many had grown suspicious of the organization, however, after Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne wrote on her Facebook page in February that the "Sharia Law Court was NOT approved or enacted by the City of Irving."
"While I am working to better understand how this 'court' will function and whom will be subject to its decisions, please know that if it is determined that there are violations of basic rights occurring, I will not stand idle and will fight with every fiber of my being against this action," she continued.
One man wearing a nametag that read "Big Daddy Infidel" also commented.
"You know, I hope 10 years from now, we just stood out here and froze to say what we wanted to say, and nothing ever came of it on either side," he said. "I hope the supplies I have in my house, the food and the water and medical supplies, I have to use up in my retirement years."
Worshipers streamed in and out of the mosque throughout the day, and rarely came within 100 feet of the protesters.
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