ARIZONA – The Tempe interfaith community joined forces over the weekend with the local Islamic center on its Open-Day event in a show of solidarity after it was targeted by the infamous hate preacher, Dean Saxton, a student at Arizona State University.
Led by Saxton — also known as Brother Dean Samuel — who has been preaching controversial messages on campuses for almost two decades, a handful of his followers decided for the past week to stand outside the Tempe Islamic Community Center and harass those who are worshiping there. In the process, Saxton rips pages from the Quran and throws them onto the ground, stomping and spitting on them in protest.
“It is hurtful and really it is for no reason,” Imam Ahmed Shqeirat told ABC 15 on Saturday, April 19.
“It is free speech, whether it incites hate or love it is free,” Saxton declared. “I think tearing up the Quran is the perfect dialogue.”
ABC15 Arizona filed a video report on their website. Another video of last week’s demonstration was posted on YouTube.
Despite Saxton’s failure to draw supporters, the Islamophobic preacher plans to target other mosques in Valley.
Local police were on standby. There were no injuries or arrests.
A History of Hate
Last September, Arizona Muslims protested a training session for prosecutors and law enforcement personnel featuring anti-Islam conspiracy theorist John Guandolo, who claims that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a “secret Muslim”.
In April 2013, Saxton caused outrage after preaching at the University holding a sign that read, “YOU DESERVE RAPE” to protest the screening of a documentary about a rape survivor.
This is typical behavior for Saxton, who believes, among other things, that women shouldn’t be allowed to attend university, that feminism is evil, and that immodestly dressed women are asking to be raped, Vice reported.
The radical preacher has also been rejected by university students utilizing social media to launch an online petition seeking Saxton’s expulsion that reached nearly 15,000 signatures.
According to the Daily Wildcat, over the years the University’s dean of students’ office has received stacks of written complaints, emails and numerous phone calls regarding Saxton’s activities.
Since the 9/11 attacks, US Muslims, estimated between 6-8 million, have complained of discrimination and stereotyping in their communities due to their Islamic attire or identities.
Additionally, a Pew Research Center study, Public Remains Conflicted Over Islam, has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A Gallup poll also found that the majority of US Muslims are patriotic and loyal to their country and are optimistic about their future.
Another Economist/YouGov poll found that a 73 percent of Americans believe that US Muslims are victims of discrimination amid recent attacks against the community.