Austin, TX

Today was Texas Muslim day at the Texas State Capitol, where Muslims from all over Texas descend on the statehouse to lobby the government in support of tolerance. The event also tries to teach Muslims about the political process and introduce them to lawmakers. It’s an annual event that this year happened to fall only three days after President Trump (and co-President Bannon) passed a bigoted and stupid Muslim ban.

The scene was mostly one of great unity, with several thousand pro-Muslim peace demonstrators on hand to welcome Muslims. They locked arms and formed a human wall between the Islamic faithful and the anti-muslim demonstrators, who were few in number and not terribly sane. The day’s proceedings went mostly as planned with only a few interruptions by mostly middle-aged crazy white people who shouted stuff about Jesus, Sharia law and clitorises.  Here is one such “gentleman”.

This extra from Duck Dynasty kept yelling gobbledegook the entire time, never even stopping to take a sip from the flask of moonshine he was probably hiding under his lice-ridden beard. When one of the peace leaders, a gay man, came over and tried to talk with him, he started screaming that if Muslims instituted Sharia Law then “sodomites” would be thrown off of buildings. This was a bit ironic because he definitely seemed less like a pro-gay marriage person and more like a “God hates Fags” type dude.

Eventually he grew tiresome so the peace observers began to drown him out by singing John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”. It was really quite beautiful.

There was only one other interruption of the proceedings, when anti-Muslim bigot Christine Weick grabbed the microphone from one of the Muslim women speakers and ranted about Jesus being the true law of the land. Eventually Text State Troopers led her away and hopefully lectured her about the separation of church and state and the pitfalls of dying your hair with peroxide.

Overall the event was a huge success, with smiling people of Islamic faith walking past applauding supporters sending good wishes their way. You could see on their faces that the large pro-Muslim crowd meant a lot to them; many of them blew kisses towards the crowd or touched their hearts in a gesture of thanks.

“In all the years we have been doing this, we have never seen a sea of supporters like we do today,” Alia Salem, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Dallas-Fort Worth chapter told the Austin American Statesman.

Steve Adler, the Mayor of Austin, spoke at the event and said: “‘Y’all’ is a uniquely Texan way of saying that we are all included. And y’all are Texans. And this is Austin, and Austin is a loving, inclusive and welcoming city, and we are proud to have you here.”

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar told the crowd, “We stand alongside you in the fight for justice and equality and against cowardly Islamophobic and frankly un-American leadership, be it in the state Capitol, be it in the Governor’s Mansion or be it in the White House.” He then led the crowd in a chant of “No ban, no wall!”

Shaykh Mohamed-Umer Esmail of the Nueces Mosque in Austin told the crowd, “I am truly humbled and overwhelmed by your support. Thank you very much for being here,” adding that the thousands of peace observers helped his belief that “we will have more supporters than haters.”

All in all it was a damn fine day to be a Texan.

Follow the author Sean Kent on Twitter – @seankent – and Facebook.