FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — “Nobody, nobody, nobody, wants your evil cult in this county.” Those were the comments made by one protester at a recent community meeting in Fredericksburg.
“I was kind of shocked because I didn’t expect quite the level of intensity,” said Samer Shalaby, a trustee and member of the Islamic Center of Fredericksburg.
Shalaby was giving a presentation about a proposed mosque in Fredericksburg at a community meeting last week when protesters started shouting out.
“You are terrorists, every one of you are terrorists. I don’t care what you say,” the man exclaimed.
Shalaby says their current building is too small. They’re hoping to build something three times this size on ten acres down the road. Shalaby, who’s also a civil engineer, says he’s held a number of community meetings about different projects over the 30 years he’s lived here.
“I’ve seen a lot of perhaps heated meetings but nothing that turned ugly like that,” said Shalaby.
Another protester shouted: “This is evil, Muslims is evil.”
Since that meeting, as videos of those comments went viral, the center has received an outpouring of support including hundreds of emails.
“People from all faiths, we’ve had Christians, we’ve had Jews, we’ve had Atheists,” said Shalaby.
He says it’s restored his faith in people.
“It makes me feel really good in the sense that people understand this is, number one, this is the United States of America, it is the land of freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of everything. So after seeing all that support you realize that people get it,” said Shalaby.
Shalaby says the center is hoping to have another community meeting early next month. He says they’re encouraging supporters to come out and voice their opinions.