South Dallas Mosque
Armed clash over black mosque triggers anger in South Dallas
By Sarah Mervosh [
April 2, 2016 1:43 pm
The Scoop Blog
Armed with a shotgun, Krystal Muhammad stood guard with other members of the New Black Panther Party outside a mosque Saturday in South Dallas. (Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer)
Racial tensions in South Dallas almost exploded at an anti-mosque protest Saturday afternoon before quickly dissolving when the protesters retreated.
A few hundred South Dallas residents, mostly black, flooded Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to oppose a planned demonstration by a mostly white group that routinely protests outside mosques.
Both sides were armed.
Dallas police stood guard on a funeral home's roof as black counterprotesters swarmed the parking lot of Eva's House of Bar-B-Q, vowing to defend their streets and chanting "black power."
A police officer uses binoculars across from the Muhammad Mosque to monitor the situation. (Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer)
"This is what they fear - the black man," said activist Olinka Green. "This is what America fears."
The anti-mosque group showed up in camouflage, carrying guns and an American flag, FOX 4 reported. They left soon after and the protests ended without incident.
"It's a people's victory here in South Dallas today," said Yafeuh Balogun of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, named for the founder of the original Black Panther Party.
Balogun, who helped organized the counterprotest, added that he wasn't "surprised" the group withdrew when confronted by the emotional crowd.
"Would you come out and face them?"
The Bureau of American Islamic Relations, or BAIR, had planned to protest against the Nation of Islam mosque at 1 p.m.
The group rallies against what it calls radical Islamism. Its name riffs on the national Muslim advocacy group CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. BAIR has protested multiple times outside the Islamic Center of Irving and had threatened a protest outside the Nation of Islam two weeks ago, but no one showed up.
The group decided to protest at the Nation of Islam on Saturday, accusing the mosque of "promoting violence against Americans openly and publicly," according to a Facebook page about the event.
"We cannot stand by while all these different Anti American, Arab radical Islamists team up with Nation of Islam/Black Panthers and White anti American Anarchist groups, joining together in the goal of destroying our Country and killing innocent people to gain Dominance through fear!" the event invite says.
The Huey P. Newton Gun Club and the New Black Panther Party were among those to come out in opposition. They, too, wore full gear and carried rifles.
Krystal Muhammad, national chair of the New Black Panther Party, accused BAIR of trying to "intimidate and bully" the mosque. She and others lined Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, armed and dressed in black, because "no one else will protect our people."
Down the street, in the barbecue restaurant's parking lot, anger at Saturday's anti-Islamic outsiders quickly bubbled into shouts about racism and classism in America.
A chorus of voices cried out in support of "black power."
They bellowed to shield their home from white infiltration: "Whose streets? Our streets?"
One man swore at a white TV reporter and later shouted, to no one in particular, that "we got the right to shoot back" if tensions escalated.
Robert Greaves, who lives in South Dallas, said his community owed no explanation for its anger and frustration.
"This is the black America that white America made," he said.