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#StandWithTheProphetProtest, 2/3: A Muslim man is attempting to leave the parking lot when his car is surrounded by protesters: something is thrown in front of his front left tire. Brakes squealing, a woman in hijab rushes to retrieve whatever was thrown and, seeing a man standing in her way, shoves him. He pulls out a knife and Ramon Mejia -- leader of the One Love counter protest -- and several others jump. No nails; just a piece of paper – the latest Charlie Hebdo cover, a caricature of the Prophet // This is what Ramon told me on the phone the next day as the only example of violence at the protest. Ramon was raised Catholic but serving in Iraq changed him: “I was taught leading up to the war that these were our enemy. There was a particular moment when I was in Baghdad; it was night and there was a fear that we were going to be attacked and we were gonna be overrun and I stayed up awake and made sure that we were all secure. It was right before sunrise that I heard the call to prayer. When I heard it, I didn't understand what the words were but it was this somber feeling, this idea, like it was peaceful for even just a second.” He came home and, later, converted to Islam. “There are very clear similarities to Mexican and Islamic immigrants - while we don't speak the same language or have the same religion we do have the same culture and family values. My father, being an immigrant from Mexico, growing up I saw him being made fun of or talked negatively about or being told 'speak English! You're in this country now!' I heard him being told very gruesome, very nasty things when I was young … last night I was wearing my shirt, 'Iraq War Veterans Against the War' and people are telling me that I'm a traitor, that I deserve to get my head cut off. Those are the similarities I see, hatred for the unknown immigrant, or the immigrants that are here to intrude on American values and the American way of life.”
thephatic, “#StandWithTheProphetProte...,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed April 19, 2019, http://instaessayarchive.org/items/show/2904.