‘I Don’t Want Jihadis in My Neighborhood’: Wyoming Locals Try to Drive out Town’s First Mosque
Residents of Gillette, Wyoming, are heavily protesting a mosque that opened up in the area in September.
Anti-Muslim residents have started a Facebook group where they are antagonizing local Muslims and their mosque.
Several residents spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan about the mosque and how they want to stop jihad in their community.
“Well, I don’t want Jihadis in my neighborhood,” Stop Islam in Gillette founder Bret Colvin explained. “We don’t want to take the chance of having a problem. Why let them all in and then see what happens when you can just nip it in the bud? ”
the group has since evolved to focus strictly on incoming Syrian refugees, changing its message from “Stop the Islam invasion sponsored by [Wyoming governor] Matt Mead and Barrack (sic) Obama. Remove the mosque and Islam school from Gillette” to “Stop Forced Syrian Immigration to Gillette.”
Raw Story reports:
While the previous focus of the anti-Islamic group has been on the mosque, the new focus is on stopping Syrian refugees from possibly being located in Gillette — despite the fact that Wyoming, along with Montana, haven’t accepted any refugees since 2012.
Last month, Colvin confronted the few Gillette Muslims attending the mosque during their Friday prayers, and now some fear for their lives.
According to Aftab Khan, who runs a hotel in small town, anti-Muslim sentiment has ramped-up in the past few months.
“The rhetoric has gotten so bad, so negative, so harsh that it’s just stunning everybody. I mean, it’s just unprecedented. It’s never been that way for us, even after 9/11,” Khan explained. “I went to the University of Wyoming, and I’ve been in Gillette for the last six – almost 16 years. I mean, you can’t ask for anybody who’s, basically, you know, been more of a Wyoming person than me. My whole life I’ve been here. ”
Despite being a longtime resident, Khan explained that threats on the streets are becoming commonplace.
“People have attacked my family and threatened us physically. I’m not going to sit here and deny the fact that I’m a little bit nervous and a little bit worried,” he said.
According to Bryan the Facebook page hate group has grown to 350 members since its inception.
Listen to the audio clip below:
Photo credit: Raw Story.