DEARBORN, Mich. (WJBK) - Two local groups are planning a rally in the metro area Saturday making residents of Dearborn nervous.
Organizers say the rally is an attempt to bring attention to what they call radical Islam, and encouraging those attending to exercise their open carry rights.
Organizers would not elaborate on what radical Islam is, but on the group's Facebook page it says the rally is all about saving our republic. Others say this rally promotes hate, which is why community leaders hope no one gives them the time.
"Free speech is free speech. It's confrontational speech that leads to problems," says Dearborn mayor Jack O'Reilly. He and other community leaders in Dearborn are preparing for an anti Islam gathering slated to take place on Saturday. It's one of roughly 20 that will happen nationwide, all organized an open carry gun group. It's part of the Global Rally for Humanity.
Organizers did not want to go on camera but did say this is exercising their Second Amendment rights and about bringing awareness to what they believe is radical Islam.
"If there were a group of people who were armed with assault weapons protesting in front of a synagogue, they'd be called anti-semite haters. These people, in the name of the First and Second Amendment, are clearly nothing but anti-Muslim bigots and racists, and [the rally] is based upon hate," says Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR Michigan. CAIR stands for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Islamic Center of American, one of the largest mosques around, was supposed to set the scene for the controversial event. Weekend activities at the school there were canceled as a result, but because of issues with a permit, the rally will now happen in a free speech zone between the city administration center and Henry Ford Centennial Library on Michigan.
"We have a long history of people coming and using Dearborn as the poster child for what's wrong with America and stuff, in terms of the Muslim population. Well, none of it can be substantiated; none of it actually relates to what's going on in Dearborn. We're just the backdrop," O'Reilly says.
It's unclear right now how many people will turn out for the rally. Several local and federal police agencies are ready to keep the peace if needed.
"We are telling our constituents as well Michiganians (sic) of good will to stay completely away from this armed protest," says Walid.
The rally is set for 1 p.m. More than a dozen rallies will also happen outside various mosques around the nation. Again, because of a permit issue, this local one will happen in a free speech zone in Dearborn.