A man outside the Bozeman Islamic Center carrying a rifle and American flag caused a lockdown of Bozeman High School on Monday.
When questioned, the man said he was “protecting our freedom.” By the afternoon counter-protesters had joined him on the street.
The president of the Islamic Center, Ruhul Amin, a professor at Montana State University, said he was overwhelmed by the amount of support he and fellow Muslims received following the protest.
“We are flooded with emails and phone calls supporting us so it’s just one single individual. The majority of the residents of this community are supporting us.”
The Islamic Center opened about a year ago at its location on 15th and Beall in Bozeman. Monday was the first time they’ve had a problem.
“It was frightening,” said Amin.
Amin contacted a local FBI agent and Bozeman Police Chief Steve Crawford to discuss any continuing threat, but said he believed the incident had a positive effect.
He said he had his own message for the man protesting Monday:
“If you are not aware of the true nature of my faith please contact us, me or anyone, so that we can educate you about the true faith which we practice and I’m confident that will replace the hatred that you have in your heart with love because I don’t think hatred achieves anything,” Amin said. “Love builds bridges and brings peace and harmony in our community.”
Amin extended the invitation to come to the center and learn more about Islam to everyone.