Ground zero protesters in New York City? No. Constructing mosques and building Muslim community centers are meeting heated opposition all over the nation and on less hallowed ground than the one in Manhatten.
Murfreesboro, Tenn.: Republican candidates for governor and Congress denounced plans for a Muslim center near a subdivision. (They were defeated in the August 5 primary.)
A group called 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.Camie Ayash, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said "her group was stunned when what began as one person raising zoning questions about the new mosque evolved into mass protests with marchers waving signs about Shariah."
“A lot of Muslims came to the U.S. because they respect the Constitution,” she said. “There’s no conflict with the U.S. Constitution in Shariah law. If there were, Muslims wouldn’t be living here.”Temecula, Calif.:: Last June, "members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby."
A Muslim community has been there for about 12 years and has expanded to 150 families who have outgrown their makeshift worship space in a warehouse, said Mahmoud Harmoush, the imam, 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.
Mr. Harmoush said 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.One activist who is against building the mosque is Tea Party member Diana Serafin.
“As a mother and a grandmother, I worry,” Ms. Serafin said. “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 Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.”Sheboygan, Wis.: Several Christian ministers "led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor."
"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."
The conflict was settled when the Town Executive Council voted unanimously to grant a permit to use the former health food stored as a prayer space.
There are almost 2000 mosques in the United States.
A two-year study by professors at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina on American Muslims and terrorism concluded that contemporary mosques are actually a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam and terrorism. "It disclosed that many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring antiviolence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts."In a related article, Craine's New York reported that the new Museum of Tolerance in Manhatten opened its doors this week. Its mission is to help enlighten visitors on issues of discrimination, prejudice and social inequality.
Feeding the resistance is a growing cottage industry 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 incompatible with America.
But they have not gone unanswered. In each community, interfaith groups led by Protestant ministers, Catholic priests, rabbis and clergy members of other faiths have defended the mosques. Often, they have been slower to organize than the mosque opponents, but their numbers have usually been larger.
But the museum's financial backer, the Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, says it cannot tolerate the planned location near Ground Zero for a mosque and Islamic community center.The following video is on Progressive Eruptions and illustrates the silliness and stupidity of bigotry.
Rabbi Meyer May, the Wiesenthal Center's executive director, on Thursday called the mosque's proposed location “insensitive” to the people who experienced the 9/11 attack that killed nearly 3,000 in 2001 and are still dealing with “extraordinarily painful wounds.”
“Religious freedom does not mean being insensitive...or an idiot,” said Mr. May, who led the push for the museum's New York location.