Ugly prejudice was freely voiced in the Texas town when the townspeople met to discuss plans to build a Muslim cemetery there.
In the town of Farmersville, Texas—a far-flung suburb of Dallas 20 miles from Garland where the Draw the Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest was held—area Muslims have purchased a 35-acre tract on Lake Lavon for a new Muslim cemetery.
The cartoon contest—which I reported on for The Daily Beast—erupted in chaos when two gunmen, Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Hamid Soofi, 34, were killed by police after opening fire on a security guard outside the contest.
Ever since the cemetery proposal was announced this summer the plans have been cause for controversy and outrage.
Tuesday night, in a town of 3,000 people, between 300 and 400 people gathered in the Farmersville High School cafeteria/auditorium for a town hall meeting to discuss the plans: Every seat was filled and an overflow crowd lined the walls and filled the adjacent hallway, small children playing quietly in front of their parents and grandparents.
The temperature at 6 p.m. was 98 degrees; inside, the thermostat read 78 but, with a standing-room-only crowd, the temperature continued to climb during the two-hour meeting.
Women fanned themselves in tropical prints, faded pink “Texas Pride” T-shirts, and polyester blouses; men wore cowboy hats, overalls, and the same denim-blue mechanic’s shirts that hipsters wear ironically. There were red-white-and-blue baseball caps. More than half the audience was over 60.
Just before the first question was read and the panel given two minutes to respond, a prayer was said invoking Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the entire audience sitting with heads bowed and many hands folded.
The oldest headstone in the Muslim section of Dallas’s Restland Cemetery was placed for Qasem Abusaad, a 15-year-old who, according to his gravestone, was born on June 9, 1957 and died on June 2, 1973.
Muslims have been buried in the Dallas area for decades with no concerns about health violations or contamination, but in Farmersville those concerns were very prevalent.
SOURCE: Randy R. Potts
The Daily Beast