Members of a local Tea Party group in Temecula, Calif., in late June ,protested outside Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.
In Sheboygan, Wis., some Christian ministers led opposition to a Muslim group that wanted to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor.
These protestors have said their problem is Islam itself. They quote passages from the Koran and argue that even the most Americanized Muslim secretly wants to replace the Constitution with Islamic Sharia law.
These Americans are making the point that while Islam may be a religion, it also masks a violent political ideology.
However, Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky, is disturbed that Americans are speaking out:
What’s different is the heat, the volume, the level of hostility. It’s one thing to oppose a mosque because traffic might increase, but it’s different when you say these mosques are going to be nurturing terrorist bombers, that Islam is invading, that civilization is being undermined by Muslims.
The professor, along with other clueless Liberals, are upset about the growing number of authors and bloggers, some of them former Muslims, who are invited to speak at rallies, sell their books and testify in churches. Their message is that Islam is inherently violent and poses a threat to America.
Attempts have been made by Liberals to counteract this message. In each community, interfaith groups led by Protestant ministers, Catholic priests, rabbis and clergy members of other faiths have defended the mosques.
The Ground Zero Mosque cleared a final hurdle last week before the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg erroneously equated this monument to Islamic victory on 9/11 to the cause of religious freedom. Liberals and the usual “religious” social justice groups supported the Cordoba Initiative. Opponents included the Anti-Defamation League, an influential Jewish group, prominent Republicans like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and the overwhelming majority of the citizens of New York City and the rest of America.
There a smaller dust-up going on in Temecula, about 60 miles north of San Diego. Muslims have been there for about 12 years. They comprise around 150 families who meet in a warehouse. Their imam is Mahmoud Harmoush, a lecturer at California State University, San Bernardino. The group wants to build a 25,000-square-foot center, with space for classrooms and a playground, on a lot it bought in 2000.
According to Mr. Harmoush, the Muslim families had contributed to the local food bank, sent truckloads of supplies to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and participated in music nights and Thanksgiving events with the local interfaith council. He’s upset because they haven’t gotten any recognition for their good works:
We do all these activities and nobody notices. Now that we have to build our center, everybody jumps to make it an issue.
That’s interesting. Christians perform works like this for His glory, not ours.
A group of Americans have voiced their concerns about the mosque. Diana Serafin, a grandmother who lost her job in tech support this year, contacted people she knew from attending Tea Party events and anti-immigration rallies. They did their homework. They read books by critics of Islam, including former Muslims like Walid Shoebat, Wafa Sultan and Manoucher Bakh. She also went to a meeting of the local chapter of ACT! for America, a Florida-based group that says its purpose is to defend Western civilization against Islam.
Ms. Serafin said:
As a mother and a grandmother, I worry. I learned that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Sharia is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.
I do believe everybody has a right to freedom of religion. But Islam is not about a religion. It’s a political government, and it’s 100 percent against our Constitution.”
Ms. Serafin was among 20 to 30 people who turned out to protest the mosque, including some who brought dogs along to offend those Muslims who consider dogs to be ritually unclean. But they were outnumbered by at least 75 supporters. As a result of citizens’ concerns, the City of Temecula recently postponed a hearing on whether to grant the mosque a permit.
There are about 1,900 mosques in the United States, their meeting places vary from makeshift prayer rooms in storefronts and houses to large buildings with adjoining community centers, according to a preliminary survey by Mr. Bagby, the California professor mentioned earler.
A two-year study by a group of Liberal academics on American Muslims and terrorism came to the conclusion that contemporary mosques are actually a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam and terrorism. I’m shocked.
The study was the product of professors with Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina. They claimed that many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring antiviolence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts.
Radicalization of alienated Muslim youths is a real threat, Mr. Bagby said:
But the youth we worry about are not the youth that come to the mosque.
In central Tennessee, the mosque in Murfreesboro is the third one in the last year to encounter resistance.
A group by the name of Former Muslims United put up a billboard saying “Stop the Murfreesboro Mosque.” The group’s president is Nonie Darwish, also the founder of Arabs for Israel, who spoke against Islam in Murfreesboro at a fund-raising dinner for Christians United for Israel, an evangelical organization led by the Rev. John Hagee.
Ms. Darwish said in an interview:
A mosque is not just a place for worship It’s a place where war is started, where commandments to do jihad start, where incitements against non-Muslims occur. It’s a place where ammunition was stored.
A spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro,Camie Ayash, was upset that people were listening to what she claimed was “total disinformation” on Islam.
According to her, her group was stunned when what began as one person raising zoning questions about the new mosque grew into mass protests with marchers waving signs about Sharia:
A lot of Muslims came to the U.S. because they respect the Constitution. There’s no conflict with the U.S. Constitution in Sharia law. If there were, Muslims wouldn’t be living here.
Ma’am, I do believe your burqa’s on fire.
Here’s an example of the difference in Sharia Law as opposed to our American system, found at theamerican-catholic.com:
Instead of precedents and codes, Sharia relies on medieval jurist’s manuals and collections of non-binding legal opinions, or fatwas, issued by religious scholars (ulama, particularly a mufti); these can be made binding for a particular case at the discretion of a judge.
In Wisconsin, the Town Executive Council voted unanimously to give the Islamic Society of Sheboygan a permit to use the former health food store as a prayer space.
Dr. Mansoor Mirza, the physician who owns the property, said he was trying to take the long view of the controversy.
Dr. Mirza said:
Every new group coming to this country — Jews, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Japanese — has gone through this. Now I think it’s our turn to pay the price, and eventually we will be coming out of this, too.
Gosh, Dr. Mirza, I did not realize that those other groups you mentioned had issued fatwas against the United States, too.
Unfortunately for those Muslims seeking to build a new life for themselves in America as one percent of our population, the deafening silence by their leadership around the world toward Islamic Terrorism has indicated to Americans that these horrible acts of barbarism are not abhorred, but condoned. So, therefore, Muslims should not be surprised as all when Americans are less than welcoming to the proposed building of Islamic Mosques and Community Centers in their communities.
Sources: nytimes.com, theamerican-catholic.com