Redstone, HPD monitor concerns over alleged anti-Islam protest plans

Published: Oct. 8, 2015 at 1:42 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2015 at 2:42 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Concerns have been raised over an alleged protest set for Saturday outside the Huntsville Islamic Center.

Redstone Arsenal sent out an email Wednesday to all employees to avoid the area. The email to employees said the incident has the potential to incite violence, like the 'Draw Mohammed' event that took place in Texas in May.

The Huntsville Police Department held a meeting Wednesday morning to address the concern over what could happen on Saturday. They said they will be monitoring the situation as it gets closer to Saturday.

Dr. Nauman Qureshi, president of the Islamic Center, said he doesn't understand the protest against all Muslims, since his center has been a pillar of the community for over 30 years.

"The word Islam itself means Peace," said Qureshi.

Qureshi has been with the Huntsville Islamic Center since it opened in 1983.

Over the years he, his family, and the entire Muslim community in Huntsville have given back to the community that's welcomed them.

"My kids grew up at the Huntsville Islamic Center, going to Sunday School," said Qureshi. "Many of our youth go to nursing homes and make more life pleasant for the residents, and we often give our time at the homeless shelter down the street."

He understands free speech, but doesn't know what the protesters think they'll be able to accomplish.

"They can protest, that's OK. It's their First Amendment right. I don't know why the Islamic Center, what they think they're going to gain," said Qureshi.

Qureshi says there are no events scheduled for Saturday at the center, but he might be at the center, for one simple reason.

"What I would like, is a nice heart-to heart discussion," said Qureshi. "What are the problems people have with us practicing Islam in this country? I would be willing to sit down with them and talk to them and share my thoughts and hear their thoughts."

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