Austin, Texas: 1,000+ Supporters Form a Human Shield to Protect Muslims
February 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Local TV news coverage of January 31 Texas Muslim Capitol Day in Austin, TX
On January 31, at least 1,000 people in Austin, Texas linked arms to protect Muslim participants in an event called Texas Muslim Capitol Day from attacks by Christian fascists. Capitol Day, which takes place every two years, is organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Texas as an educational event for Muslim students and others to learn about the state government. During the event two years ago, a vitriolic group of Christian fascist fanatics heckled the participants, and one of them grabbed the microphone and ranted, “I proclaim the name lord Jesus Christ over the capitol of Texas… Islam will never dominate the United States!”
This year’s Capitol Day took place at a time when those who have declared Islam as a religion and Muslims generally as the “enemy” now run the federal government—and a few days after Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigrants and refugees. Also, a Texas state legislator had recently sent a letter to mosque leaders and Muslim student associations across the state asking them to fill out a “poll” about their beliefs, in preparation for a “homeland security” summit he planned to hold. And two mosques in Texas have recently been hit with arson attacks.
So clearly there was apprehension among Muslims participating in this year’s Capitol Day, but people were determined to go ahead. And a large crowd of supporters turned out to put themselves between the Muslim participants and anyone who would harass or harm them. Many wore t-shirts saying “I stand with my Muslim neighbors.” One woman, an ESL teacher, who was part of the human shield told the Texas Tribune that this was the first time that she had ever taken part in a protest. She said, “I feel that with the political situation the way it is now, it’s time for all of us to stand up and defend the Constitution.”
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