People of all ethnicities and religions came together on Sunday, Sep. 22 to protest the reception of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, Texas.
The Prime Minister was previously banned for 10 years from entering the United States due to his crimes as chief minister in Gujarat, India. In the incident, Modi oversaw the killings of almost 1,000 Muslims by supporters of his Hindu nationalist group.
Now, Trump welcomes Modi with open arms to the United States. The NRG Stadium in Houston was packed with an estimated 50,000 supporters of Modi and Trump.
On the day of the rally, Trump was set to address the crowd before Modi. However, he arrived extremely late. Dancers and singers performed traditional songs to stall until he arrived.
When he finally arrived, Trump spoke to the impatient crowd and mentioned how Modi is a "loyal ally to the United States." and "doing an exceptional job." Roars of approval shook the stadium when Modi appeared. Modi endorsed Trump to the Indian-American voters for the 2020 election.
Behind the scenes, Modi and Trump discussed strengthening trade between the two countries.
Outside, a protest was in full swing.
Hundreds of people from Dallas left before 5 a.m. on multiple buses from Dallas mosques in Irving, Richardson, and Plano. Altogether, there were tens of thousands of protesters from all over Texas.
The event was a beautiful display of solidarity among many different people; young and old, Indian and Pakistani, Muslim and Sikh.
Demonstrators held signs that read "Stop The Genocide In Kashmir" and "Modi, Another Face of Hitler." Protestors shouted many slogans and chants such as "Azadi," meaning Freedom. In an address to the crowd Yasir Qadhi, a prominent Muslim scholar from Plano, described the connections of the Hindu nationalist group that Modi is part of, called the RSS, with Hitler's Nazi party.
"Trump has shown that it doesn't matter whether you are a dictator with blood on your hands, so long as your purchase American weapons to butcher your people," said Omar Suleiman, an Imam at Valley Ranch Islamic Center. "Just as tyrants are willing to solidify their fascism and tyranny around the world, it is time for the oppressed masses around the world and those who grieve with them to realize that we also have a shared stake in each other's struggle...We are not here for the moment, but we are here for the movement. We say to Modi that you will find opposition wherever you go in the world."
Badees Nouiouat is the Publisher of The Irving Muslim.