Advice to my Bozeman Muslim Friends
As we sit, and with the news about another terrorism attack, I wondered about the relationship Bozeman has with its Muslim citizens. The first thing I found was a news story in January 9, 2017 from KBZK Television News:
Armed man protests Islamic Center in Bozeman
An armed, man protesting near the Islamic Center of Bozeman forced a lockdown at Bozeman High School today. The man began the day with an American flag and a rifle. It was the rifle that got the attention of police.
Back and forth on Beall and 15th Ave, right across from Bozeman High School, the man walked, refusing to tell reporters his name, only saying he was protesting because of the building on the corner - the Islamic Center of Bozeman. The man also told our reporter he was protecting our freedoms.
At about 11 a.m. at least one person noticed the man, seen with a rifle. Police were called in and the high school was put on lockdown. The man was placed in handcuffs while police investigated. He was eventually let go but asked to put the firearm away.
After being released, the man grabbed his flag and resumed his protest.
But in the afternoon, he had company.
Andy Boyd of Bozeman said he was acting as an anti-protester, that he was there to support religious freedom.
I"m responding to the message of hate that's being shown here," said Boyd.
The protester didn’t seem to mind the competing message.
“The more the merrier, he's got the same flag,” he said.
Around 3 p.m. a woman who identified as a Muslim was also on the corner. She said she offered the protestor coffee.
“He certainly has a reason to be here,” she said.
It is unknown if the protests will continue tomorrow.
Here is a link to the TV 7 video Okay just a protest, everything seemed to end well. The next report was from ABC Fox Montana January 10, 2017
The Muslim community is receiving support from the Bozeman community
The Muslim community of Bozeman is receiving an outpour of support from the community of Bozeman and Montanans across the state. After a masked man holding a flag and shotgun protested the Islam community center yesterday.
But the president of the Islam community center says this event has opened his eyes to the love of this community.
"I'm Overwhelmed with calls and emails from people in Bozeman around Bozeman I was really surprised to see people were calling and emailing us from outside Bozeman to show their solidarity and support for us the Muslims," said Ruhul Amin.
Ruhul Amin, President of the Islamic Community Center and MSU professor, says he was surprised to see a protester outside the community center.
The unnamed masked man stood outside the center for hours yesterday afternoon.
At one point carrying a shotgun before police asked him to put the gun away.
The man returned to protesting going and down the side walk.
"I was surprised, because we have been living in this beautiful peaceful college town for the last 27 years and this is really not something I was expecting even after the horrific events of 9/11 this community peaceful town was very supportive of us so when I first heard the news I was really surprised," said Amin.
The Islamic community center has face negative attention before, mostly in the form of Facebook posts, but Amin tells me there have never been any protests.
"We never have had any problem this is our home and we are here to stay because in the constitution of this great country everyone is available to practice their faith,” said Amin. “This is a college town this is a diverse population people of diverse he has always been here so the community not that concerned but it was also shocking to the community."
Amin says the amount flood of community support for the center after yesterday's events quickly reminded him of the diversity Bozeman represents and embraces.
"We are thankful for the community. We are happy to see the overwhelming majority of the community opposing the misguided action of this single individual is doing what he did yesterday,” said Amin. “I invite him and everybody in this community did talk to us directly and I'm sure that hatred against us will be replaced by love.”
Late this afternoon mayor Carson Taylor did send a statement in response to the protest yesterday and talks of an armed march against Jews in whitefish.
He says “the city of Bozeman is a successful and growing community. We thrive, in part, because we welcome all people to live and participate in our community life. We believe that our success is connected to the ability of our diverse population to work together with mutual respect for our differences and appreciation for what we share in common. The people of Bozeman stand together in opposition to any person or group that attempts to intimidate or otherwise curtail the rights of all to practice their faith and to exercise all of their rights in peace.”
So again it seems Muslims in Bozeman don't really seem to have much to fear. But what about the future? According to a Worldnet Daily, Montana is one of the states that will be taking in more Muslim refugees. This is what a Bozeman activist told the news website.
“They’ve done little to help us and have basically given lip-service,” said Paul Nachman, a Bozeman activist who described Missoula as a town dominated by progressive politics, due largely to the influence of the University of Montana.
“It’s a wildly left-wing town, known around here as the Berkeley of Montana,” he said
Nachman says the commissioners Jan. 13 letter was astonishingly naïve.
Under the resettlement program, as governed by the Refugee Act of 1980 (authored by former Sens. Teddy Kennedy and Joe Biden), local elected leaders are not afforded any control over the number of refugees the federal government sends into their communities. The feds must “consult” with state and local leaders but are not required to abide by any suggested limits on the number of refugee arrivals. Nor is the federal government bound to restrict refugees coming from any particular country, such as Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan or any other jihadist-infested country.
The flow of refugees could begin with 10 Christians from Myanmar, for instance, but quickly evolve into hundreds of Muslims from Syria or Somalia. The Obama administration claims it has carte blanche authority over how many refugees will arrive in any given town and where they will come from.
From what I can tell from all the Bozeman news reports, Muslims here are met mostly in a welcome manor. But with the new terrorism problems in the world, I can understand how some Bozeman Muslims might be worried.
The first thing The Islamic Center of Bozeman might do is post on its website that it condemns this weekend's terrorists attacks. I am aware some will say there is no need for the center to post a statement on its site condemning the newest terrorist acts...I agree, but it might be the smart thing. Some people in Bozeman don't know a lot about the Islamic center. There could even be an ignorant resident who thinks the Islamic center supports the terrorist actives. They seem to be killing in the name of Allah.
If you went to their website today you would see this on the front page.
"O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous. Allah is All Knowledgeable, All-Aware." [Quran 49:13]
I have very good religious Muslim friends. They pray five times a day. My friends are very proud of Islam. Every Muslim is NOT a terrorist. We all know that. But in this war on terror all of the people committing terrorist acts are Muslim. (Reread this. Some people don't see the subtly of my statement.)
So how do we protect innocent Bozeman residents from being subjects of harassment? The answer is education. All Muslims are not terrorists; it's not that hard to understand.
I am Italian; some may think my family and friends are in the mafia. It's ignorance. All Italians are not in the mafia...but all the people in the mafia are Italian.
My advice to my Muslim friends in Montana and members of The Islamic Center of Bozeman: On your website remind your Bozeman neighbors that you condemn these acts of terror.
This is America. You really shouldn't have to do this, but sometimes the right thing is not always the smart thing.