Muslims who attend a Mosque in Kent say hecklers have been targeting them outside their place of worship. On Friday the hecklers' so-called hate speech was met with a counter protest. It made for some tense and light moments which were caught by cellphone cameras.
The leaders of the Islamic Center of Federal Way say the original demonstration started with one man, another joined him. Nadeem Ahmed who attends the ICFW says both of the men have screamed at people coming to pray, and one of them blocks the driveway as they come into to park. He added that this has gone on for several weeks. He and others are afraid the harsh speech could incite violence.
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In one of the cell phone videos shared with KIRO 7, a heckler screamed, "You don't' tell them that Mohammed had sex with a 9 year old (girl).’"
Two other men are clearly preaching against Islam and questioning the validity of the religion.
"You guys got to turn away from this religion that poisons your soul and your mind," one of the men said.
Aziz Junejo, Host of Focus on Islam and an activist concerned with civil rights for Muslims, considers the protest to be hate speech.
“It's so un-American, their first amendment right is being abused ... There's no question they want confrontation and thank goodness we're not willing to give it to them,” Junejo said.
Nadeem Ahmed lives near the mosque, and attends regularly, he believes the hecklers are outside the mosque for one reason, "They were harassing people literally kids, teenagers."
Ahmed was glad that neighbors of the mosque came out in a counter protest Friday to meet the men who’ve been speaking out against Islam. He is concerned that the speech and rhetoric could inspire someone to act out.
“The people are scared about their safety they are kind of scared, because you know there are incidents happening one sole gunman walks in and starts shooting innocent people so that was the hot topic today.,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed says he’s tried to talk to the men as have several other people. On the cellphone video some people confront the men, and try to talk to them. Others can be heard laughing. Whatever he and others have tried, Ahmed says none of it has worked.
“They should respect what someone believes in, that's the beauty of this country those are American values,” Ahmed said.
Mosque leaders say they will wait and see if demonstrations continue.
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