Individuals attending a Fort Worth rodeo over the weekend were left outraged by the individual organizers chose to deliver the opening prayer: Imam Mouthed Bakhach.
According to the Star-Telegram, this year organizers chose to select a more diverse group of faith leaders to offer prayers before events at the Fort Worth Stock Show.
The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo begins with the Grand Entry Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Richard W. Rodriguez)
But, for many, the inclusion of a Muslim Imam was a step far too far.
“I just will choose NOT to go somewhere that embraces a religion that wants me, my family and my people DEAD," one individual wrote on the rodeo's Facebook page, according to the Star Telegram.
“Muslim/Islam has no place in this country let alone fwssr. Not one Muslim has come out against the radical actions that is the Muslim belief. PERIOD. COWBOYS DON’T WANT IT," another reportedly commented.
“This really disappoints me in the FWSSR! Sad to see such a Texas & American institution fall in the gutter of political correctness," yet one more person echoed.
New LCD screens hang over the arena during the Grand Entry at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Richard W. Rodriguez)
As noted by The Dallas Morning News, outrage did not appear directed at Bakhach's comments, but simply at the inclusion of someone who belonged to the Muslim faith.
Nevertheless, according to the Star Telegram, Bakhach said he sensed a "beautiful spirit" at the venue Sunday and thought the prayer went well.
"I didn't hear any negative reaction to what I said," he told the Star-Telegram. "I sat down to watch the show."
[sharequote align="center"]"I didn't hear any negative reaction to what I said."[/sharequote]
The president and general manager of the rodeo, Brad Barnes, said he found the Muslim Imam's comments to be "spot-on" and "very appropriate."
Others also defended him on Facebook.
“Kudos to FWSSR for leading the way and understanding that America is a country of immigrants. Thanks for showing love and not hatred by showing tolerance for all religions; as Freedom of Religion applies to every American, even if they don't look like you or believe what you believe," one person wrote.
"The ignorance here," another echoed. "You all should be ashamed of yourselves."
The Stock Show will continue through mid-February.
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