A photo of a man showing his support for Muslims outside a mosque in Texas went viral.
In the photo, the man can be seen in a cowboy hat and holding a sign outside of the Islamic Center of Irving. “You belong,” the sign read. “Stay strong. Be blessed. We are one America.”
A spokesperson for the mosque told the Independent the man held the sign for several hours as a show of support for the Muslim community and against President-elect Donald Trump.
“Imagine how bad things are when people are considered brave and extraordinary because they do the right thing,” one viewer said in response to the sign.
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“As a Texan I would like everyone to know that this is NOT that rare here. Texas is a big place with loud, proud people. And of course there is hate, as in every place on Earth. But there is so much love, acceptance, and kindness here that no one ever sees. This kind of thing makes me so proud to live here. We really do love Y'all!!” another wrote on Reddit.
In November of 2015, the same mosque was the site of an anti-Muslim protest that followed the attacks in Paris.
“We tried to talk to the mosque before we did this, but they wouldn’t return our messages,” David Wright, one of the protesters, told Dallas News at the time. “So here we are.”
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Several protesters reportedly had guns, including a 20-year-old who was hoping to joint he Army and ban Islam from the U.S.
“They’re mostly for self-defense or protection,” Wright said. “But I’m not going to lie. We do want to show force ... It would be ridiculous to protest Islam without defending ourselves.”
David Palmer, a city council member, went to the protest to see it for himself and blasted the protesters for carrying guns.
“Does it look like there’s any threat here? Nobody’s even close to them,” Palmer said.
“My initial impression was they were using them for intimidation. I doubt that they’d be happy if some of the Muslim churchgoers here showed up at their Christian church, their Baptist church, their Methodist church tomorrow morning with rifles slung over their shoulders.”