DICKINSON, Texas — A local organization based on helping families find missing loved ones, finds itself in the middle of an international hate storm.
Founder Tim Miller of Texas Equusearch is doing damage control after a man by the name of Phillip Barbaria, who claims to be affiliated with the search party group, posted an anti-Muslim rant on social media.
Miller — a man who has been looking for people for nearly two decades — said he hasn't seen this hater in years.
"He came to our office in 2012, said he wanted to join Equusearch, filled out a member application, paid his $25 for dues for that year and we've never heard or seen him since," Miller said.
The rant, much of it too graphic to post, targeted Qasim Rashid, an award-winning and best-selling Muslim author.
"People are entitled to their our opinions, and that's what free speech is all about. But once you start to promote violence and death threats, you're promoting extremists ideology," Rashid said.
Sure enough, these hate promoting posts brought out the worst in everybody.
"We started getting all these hate emails in and stuff, from not only all over the country but all over the world," Miller said.
Luckily, this hateful confusion was resolved after Rashid contacted Miller.
"Equusearch was very gracious and responded that this individual represents only himself, and certainly not the organization." And out of this hate storm, a new-found friendship might have formed with the two men vowing to work together to promote tolerance," Rashid said.
"Mr. Rashid told me yesterday, his statement was it appears as though there's a silver lining at the end of the storm. So we're going to hold on to that silver lining and move forward," Miller said.