Society

Imam Withdraws From Praying At Rodeo After Facebook Backlash

| by Tony Tran
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For many Muslims all over the nation, facing anger and hate is just another day at the rodeo.

Such is the case for one Muslim imam who was scheduled to say a prayer before a Texas rodeo but had to cancel after a social media uproar ensued due to the action. 

Moujahed Bakhach of the Islamic Association of Tarrent County offered up his services as an imam to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, giving a blessing before the event on Sunday Jan. 25, according to the Star Telegram.

According to the Huffington Post, his prayer was made entirely in English, called for world peace, and included no mention of Allah.

Though the rest of the blessing was for the safety of all of the performers -- including the cattle and the audience -- the prayer still drew the ire and backlash of the online community. 

Anger was the name of the game as many people took to Facebook to voice their opinions.

“Muslim/Islam has no place in this country let alone [Fort Wroth Stock Show & Rodeo]," said one commenter. "Not one Muslim has come out against the radical actions that is the Muslim belief. PERIOD. COWBOYS DON’T WANT IT.”

" ... for you to embrace and allow an Imam to come in and offer a prayer is disgraceful and bowing down to political correctness when they are the very religion that is choosing to behead Christians for their beliefs and it calls for it in the Koran," Cunningham Cattle said.

“I just will choose NOT to go somewhere that embraces a religion that wants me, my family and my people DEAD,” another commented.

Despite the vitriol, there were people who took to Facebook to defend the decision to include Bakhach.

"As a Texan, I'm embarrassed at how vile people are being because they don't understand Islam and use the actions of people half way around the world to rain hate down on peaceful people here," wrote Diane Treider. "I'm glad the [Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo] did this."

The stock show was also quick to defend their decisions through a Facebook post saying, "We invited each participant to provide a one-minute prayer to include the safety of the contestants, animals and participants, the military men and women and world peace."

"Committee members include: a Cowboy Church pastor, a Catholic priest, TCU Brite Divinity School students, a member of the Clergy and Police Alliance, Christ Chapel Bible Church clergy, a Baptist minister, a Rabbi and an Imam," the post read. "Last Sunday evening the Imam provided a very appropriate blessing as outlined above.

Historically, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo has adhered to a Christian tone, with Rodeo announcer Bob Tallman giving the event an almost evangelical feel to it. Tallman himself only had good things to say about Bakhach saying he "did a wonderful job."

Nevertheless, Imam Bakhach told the Dallas Morning News that he thought there was "a beautiful spirit" present at the event.

Sources: The Huffington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Star Telegram

Photo Credit: ClashDaily.com, Richard W. Rodriguez/The Star Telegram