Outside An Irving Mosque, A Man In A Cowboy Hat Holds A Sign That Read ‘You Belong’ | KERA News

Outside An Irving Mosque, A Man In A Cowboy Hat Holds A Sign That Read ‘You Belong’

Nov 30, 2016

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Gov. Abbott says campus carry could have deterred the Ohio State attacker; the City of Dallas has five finalists for city manager; how to volunteer during the holidays; and more.

A photo posted and widely circulated on social media over the weekend shows a man with a white beard and cowboy hat holding a sign outside of the Islamic Center of Irving. The sign reads “You Belong. Stay Strong. Be Blessed. We Are One America.” Initially anonymous, Justin Normand, 53, of Dallas identified himself Monday, the Dallas Morning News reports. He manages a sign shop and made the sign himself.

According to Normand's Facebook post, he first went out on Friday. A representative from the Islamic Center said Monday that he’d shown up for several days, the Washington Post reports. According to the Morning News, Normand said he doesn't usually wear a cowboy hat, "but he recognized that he symbolizes a segment of Texas that the Islamic community needed to hear from."

The Irving mosque has dealt with demonstrations of opposition, too. In November 2015, more than a dozen armed men and women from the so-called Bureau on American Islamic Relations (BAIR), stood outside the Islamic Center to “Stop the Islamization of America." Again in February, the group showed up at an event welcoming hundreds of Syrian refugees at the Irving center.

Although Donald Trump has backtracked on his “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, reported that there have been some 100 anti-Muslim incidents across the country since the election, according to the Post. [The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News]

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says campus carry could have prevented the Ohio State attack. In an appearance on Fox News, Abbott said a law allowing people on campus to carry concealed weapons would have deterred people like Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the suspect in Monday's knife attack. "I think that on a college campus like here in Texas, people will think twice before waging an attack like this knowing that they could be gunned down immediately." A police officer ultimately shot and killed Artan. [Texas Tribune, NPR]


  • A University of Texas at Arlington student says protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline is honoring her Native American ancestors. Stephanie Vielle, 34, spent time at Standing Rock in October. She’s a member of Blackfeet Nation in Browning, Montana, and she says she went to North Dakota to support her people and to protect the water. In a recent interview with KERA, she talks about what protesting the pipeline means for Native people, Native American identity and how younger generations are trying to find their place in modern America. [KERA News]


  • The City of Dallas announced its five finalists for City Manager to replace A.C. Gonzalez in January. More than 100 people applied for the position to run Dallas' day-to-day operations, according to a press release. Dallas Assistant City Manager Mark McDaniel is the only internal candidate. The other four are: Chattanooga, Tenn., Chief Operating Officer Maura Black Sullivan; former CPS Energy executive Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley; Tulsa City Manager Jim Twombly; and Tacoma, Wash., City Manager T.C. Broadnax. Interviews will take place next week. [City of Dallas]


  • Looking to volunteer in North Texas during the holidays? It’s always a good time to give back to the community. And the holiday season is no exception. Whether it’s your money or time, there are plenty of ways to donate to organizations that feed, clothe and help North Texans get back on their feet. We’ve compiled a quick guide with several Dallas-Fort Worth area groups to check out for upcoming and ongoing volunteer opportunities. Explore the quick guide. [KERA News]