A small group of armed protesters peacefully demonstrated outside of the Islamic Center of Irving, Texas, on Sat., Feb. 20, contending the welfare and well-being of U.S. military veterans should come before the relocation of Syrian refugees into Texas communities.
Breitbart The group, called the Bureau of American Islamic Relations (BAIR), rallied for “Veterans Before Refugees.” The Facebook event page stated their objections as: “We will not allow Syrian refugees to come here from a war zone while thousands of veterans are sleeping on the streets and dying waiting for the VA healthcare they were promised when they took the oath.”
On Saturday, the Islamic Center of Irving held its “Compassion Day,” described as welcoming “those refugees in the DFW area who have fled their home countries for a better life in the United States.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Irving mosque leader Imam Zia Sheikh said the mosque partnered with refugee organizations bringing Muslim refugees from countries, not only those from Syria, many of whom are not real refugees, to the luncheon to make them “feel at home.”
“We have people here that need our help,” BAIR founder David Wright III told the Dallas newspaper, seemingly alluding to Texas veterans who suffer with homelessness, mental illness, health issues, and abject poverty. Many of the BAIR group are veterans, including John Usener, a father of four, who served eight tours in Iraq, and is state captain for the BAIR-affiliated Three Percenters Texas.