A group called “Wyoming against Islam, Americans for a secure Wyoming" held a rally over the weekend in a park in Gillette (see video of the event below). According to news reports, the rally was directed against the religion and not Muslims who want to live a peaceful life. Fifteen members of the group attended the rally, with a variety speaking and expressing different points of view.
The group called for peace, dialogue and understanding. One member said he would welcome Muslim immigrants if they were properly vetted and a good, hard working people.
“People have got to come to terms with what is being called a religion, but it’s really something hateful and evil disguised as a religion,” said rally organizer Frank Jorge.
About 30 peaceful protesters, including the mayor, showed up with placards opposing the rally. “This isn’t Gillette,” said city spokesman Geno Palazzari. “We have a very welcoming and inclusive community.”
At one point, a young Muslim man from the group of protesters walked up to the Jorge, who handed him the microphone.
“There is no reason to have hate in your heart,” he said. “Love everybody, enjoy everybody.”
Jorge then asked him, “Did the prophet [of Islam, i.e. Mohammed] marry a six-year old girl?”
The Muslim man answered, “No, I don’t know where you hear this stuff.”
Local channel KCWY’s Channel 13 News reported that a Quran was burned during the rally but declined to show footage of that “out of respect for Muslims.”
After the rally, members of the group and protesters held a dialogue facilitated by a police officer.
Clarion Project supports freedom of speech to criticize and and all religious beliefs but opposes bigotry against Muslim people. Read our statement on anti-Muslim bigotry.