A demonstration at a Nation of Islam (NOI) mosque in South Dallas almost exploded into violence this weekend.
The Dallas Morning News reports that an anti-Muslim group that calls itself the Bureau of American Islamic Relations began holding a protest outside Dallas' local NOI chapter headquarters Saturday. Fox News' Diana Zoga snapped a photo of the BAIR members.
A group called BAIR showed up to protests a mosque in S Dallas. pic.twitter.com/xKlwB7q0Jq
— Diana Zoga (@DianaZogaFox4) April 2, 2016
In response, "a few hundred" mostly black South Dallas residents marched on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to block it.
Both sides were armed, the News said. It's not clear if all the mosque supporters were actually mosque members.
“It’s a people’s victory here in South Dallas today,” the News reported Yafeuh Balogun of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club as saying.
The Dallas area has seen a flurry of anti-Muslim activity in the past 12 months. Last fall, BAIR head David Wright published the names and addresses of what he said were "Muslims and Muslim sympathizers." He also helped spread a false rumor begun by the mayor of nearby Irving, Texas, that a Muslim group there had established an extra-judicial sharia court, the News said.
The Nation of Islam, which serves mostly black Muslims, has long drawn protests for what the Southern Poverty Law Centers calls its "deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay" views.
But Saturday's rally came about over BAIR's accusation that the mosque was “promoting violence against Americans openly and publicly,” the News reported.
CBS quoted mosque supporter Purlie Gates that a double standard was afoot.
“These people came to our community under false pretenses. Could we do the same thing?" she asked. "Could we make some allegations about a group in Highland Park and arm a militia and say we are going to go over there with arms and protest? That would have been stopped at city hall. The police would have stopped that.”
CBS said police officers stood in between the two groups and were also perched on rooftops.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.