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The group, the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, or BAIR, has made it a habit in the past to show up at mosques with firearms and intimidate worshipers. In November, armed protesters stalked Muslims in Irving. In December, they again stalked Muslims at the Islamic Association of North Texas.
But on Saturday, the group that makes a show of carrying guns while they surround places of worship was met in-kind at a Nation of Islam mosque in South Dallas, the Dallas Morning News reports.
“This is an armed defense maneuver, making sure that our communities are safe and secure from any insurgents coming in,” Krystal Muhammad of the New Black Panther Party told Fox4 last week. Muhammad was armed with a large shotgun. “We won’t allow anybody to come in and try to intimidate our brothers and sisters.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center also lists the New Black Panther Party as a hate group.
On Saturday, the BAIR showed up and was outnumbered by members of black self-defense groups, Fox4 reported.
The Nation of Islam was joined by the Panthers and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club in its defense of the mosque.
“We will not allow them to come to South Dallas with arms and intimidate our people,” Yafeuh Balogun, spokesman for the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, told Fox4 last week. “We’re taking a defensive posture, but we’re not threatening anyone.”
“It’s a people’s victory here in South Dallas today,” he said Saturday after BAIR left without incident.
Fox4 reports the event Saturday was charged with tension.
Police said the event ended without incident, and had extra resources on hand, citing the inflammatory nature of the planned protest.
“The Police Department is concerned over the volatile nature this planned protest has taken due to the racial overtones,” a statement sent to the News read.
According to news reports, BAIR last week backed out of the protest and was a no-show, but BAIR spokesman John Usener told Fox4 an agreement had been made with the Nation of Islam leadership and Dallas police to postpone the protest.
The Panthers said they wouldn’t take it lying down.
“We’re not doing sit-ins,” Muhammad told Fox4. “We’re straight-up standing up.”
Watch video posted by the News here:
This article has been updated to reflect that BAIR protested today after cancelling last week’s event.