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Two rallies, two opinions

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By Timothy Guy

Amaani Shams, a member of the Muslim Students Association at RCC, yells back at the Truth Defenders (Christopher Dietrich)

By Timothy Guy

Two events at Riverside City College on April 27 may have been close in proximity to one another, but they were worlds apart with subject and crowd reaction.

An organization calling themselves the Truth Defenders descended on campus to hold an open-mic discussion on human rights and the Islamic religion on the steps of the Martin Luther King Learning and Technology Resource Center as promoted in fliers that were passed out around campus.

What started out as a calm discourse quickly turned into something completely different as chants of “remember 9/11!” came from one group and signs like “Truth Defenders my ass” and “teach peace not hate!” were held up by Muslim students in protest. Arguments soon followed as some spectators disagreed with what was being said.

Campus Police with help from the Riverside Police Department were close to make sure there were no incidents between the speakers and groups gathered around them.

Over at the Aguilar Patio there was an opposing discussion. Speakers were present to talk about the Islamic religion using stories of the prophet Muhammed and bring about what they called a “spirit of tolerance and understanding.”

In contrast to the Truth Defenders’ crowd reaction, the people attending appeared calm and respectful.

There were no signs being held in protest and no chants broke out.

During his speech Hussam Ayloush spoke about wanting everyone at these events to hear both groups’ points first then talk about it.

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