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All of America is Hallowed Ground?

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Aug. 9, 2010

New Mosques Face Hostility Far from Ground Zero

Foes of Proposed Mosques in Nation's Heartland Have Deployed Dogs to Intimidate Muslims Holding Prayer Services

image6756540g.jpg

This July 14, 2010 file photo shows protester Greg Johnson, right, and counter protesters Ina Marshall and Tim Foster, left, arguing during a demonstration against a planned mosque and Islamic community center in front of the Rutherford County Courthouse in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (AP Photo/Christopher Berkey, File)

(AP) Muslims trying to build houses of worship in the nation's heartland, far from the heated fight in New York over plans for a mosque near the World Trade Center site, are running into opponents even more hostile and aggressive.

Foes of proposed mosques have deployed dogs to intimidate Muslims holding prayer services and spray painted "Not Welcome" on a construction sign, then later ripped it apart.

The 13-story, $100 million Islamic center that could soon rise two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York would dwarf the proposals elsewhere. Yet the smaller projects in local communities are stoking a sharper kind of fear and anger than has showed up in New York.

In the Nashville suburb of Murfreesboro, opponents of a new Islamic center say they believe the mosque will be more than a place of prayer. They are afraid the 15-acre site that was once farmland will be turned into a terrorist training ground for Muslim militants bent on overthrowing the U.S. government.

"They are not a religion. They are a political, militaristic group," said Bob Shelton, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in the area.

Shelton was among several hundred demonstrators recently who wore "Vote for Jesus" T-shirts and carried signs that said: "No Sharia law for USA!," referring to the Islamic code of law. Others took their opposition further, spray painting the sign announcing the "Future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro" and tearing it up.

In Temecula, California, opponents brought dogs to protest a proposed 25,000-square-foot mosque that would sit on four acres next to a Baptist church. Opponents worry it will turn the town into haven for Islamic extremists, but mosque leaders say they are peaceful and just need more room to serve members.

Islam is a growing faith in the U.S., though Muslims represent less than 1 percent of the country's population. Ten years ago, there were about 1,200 mosques nationwide. Now there are roughly 1,900, according to Ihsan Bagby, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky and a researcher on surveys of American mosques.

The growth involves Islamic centers expanding to accommodate more Muslims - as is the case in New York, California and Tennessee - as well as mosques cropping up in smaller, more isolated communities, Bagby said.

A 2007 survey of Muslim Americans by the Pew Research Center found that 39 percent of adult Muslims living in the United States were immigrants that had come here since 1990.

"In every religious community, one of the things that has happened over the course of immigration is that people get settled and eventually build something that says, 'We're here! We're not just camping,"' said Diana Eck, a professor of Comparative Religion at the Harvard University. "In part, that's because those communities have put down roots in America and made this their home."

Before the demonstration in Murfreesboro, a fundraiser was held for the new community center. Children behind a folding table sold homemade wooden plaques, door hangers and small serving trays decorated with glitter and messages like, "Peace," "I love being a Muslim" and "Freedom of Religion."

Mosque leader Essam Fathy, who helped plan the new building in Murfreesboro, has lived there for 30 years.

"I didn't think people would try that hard to oppose something that's in the Constitution," he said. "The Islamic center has been here since the early '80s, 12 years in this location. There's nothing different now except it's going to be a little bigger."

Bagby said that hasn't stopped foes from becoming more virulent.

"It was there before, but it didn't have as much traction. The larger public never embraced it," he said. "The level of anger, the level of hostility is much higher in the last few years."

The Murfreesboro mosque is one of three planned in the Nashville area that have drawn recent scrutiny.

Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a nonprofit that advocates for reform and modernization of Islam, said opposing mosques is no way to prevent terrorism.

Neighbors didn't want his family to build a mosque in 1979 in Neenah, Wisconsin, because they didn't understand who Muslims were.

"If the Wisconsin mosque had not been allowed to be built, I, at 17, might have put up walls and become a different person," he said. "If we start preventing these from being built, the backlash will be increased radicalization."

A study by professors at the Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina backs up Jasser's statement. The study found that mosques, religious bookstores and other communal associations that bring Muslim-Americans together helps prevent radicalization.

In Murfreesboro, Imam Ossama Bahloul said the center has hired a security guard for Friday prayer services and a security camera constantly pans the parking lot and doors. Their fears are not without cause.

Two years ago, several men broke into the Islamic Center of Columbia, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Murfreesboro, and torched it with molotov cocktails, stealing a stereo system and painting swastikas and "White Power" on the front of the building.

Bahloul said he hopes the controversy will die down with time. He said the situation has been hardest on the children.

"The second generation is facing a huge challenge because they did not think even for a second before that someone would say, 'You are not welcome."'

___________________________________________________________________

Catholic New York — June 17, 2010

Controversial Staten Island Mosque Plan Withdrawn

By MARY ANN POUST

The pastor of St. Margaret Mary parish in Midland Beach, Staten Island, has changed his position on selling an unused convent to a Muslim American group for a mosque and community center, and he has asked that the proposed sale not proceed.

The plan drew intense community opposition focused on distrust of the Muslim religion and concerns that Islam and terrorism are linked. There were also concerns that a mosque at St. Margaret Mary's convent would cause parking and traffic problems in the neighborhood.

As pastor, Father Keith Fennessy had signed a contract, subject to various Church and civil approvals, with the Muslim American Society. However, in a letter to Archbishop Dolan made public June 17, he said that after careful reflection he "concluded that the proposed sale would not serve the needs of the parish."

"As a result, as pastor of St. Margaret Mary parish, I wish to formally withdraw my support for the sale, and request that it not take place," he wrote.

His letter was shared with his fellow parish trustees and representatives of the Muslim American Society, said a statement from the archdiocese.

"In the light of Father Fennessy's letter as pastor, it is our hope that an amicable resolution can be reached between St. Margaret Mary parish and the Muslim American Society," the statement said.

Neighborhood opposition included a protest demonstration on Greeley Avenue last Sunday at which some 150 people chanted "No mosque! No sale!" Opponents also handed out fliers protesting the plan at local parishes.

Earlier, a June 9 meeting of the Midland Beach Civic Association drew an overflow crowd of nearly 400 angry residents who denounced the plan before a panel of local Muslims.

Several challenged the group's claims that it has no ties to terrorism, with one asking, "Wouldn't you agree that every terrorist, past and present, has come out of a mosque?"

Many were critical not just of the Muslim group but also of Father Fennessy for negotiating the sale.

Bill Owens, a resident, called on Staten Islanders to call and write the archdiocese in protest. "We're here to try to save our neighborhood," he said at the meeting.

After Sunday's demonstration, the Washington, D.C.-based Muslim group-which has repeatedly denied any links to terrorist groups and has denounced all forms of violence-called for creation of a Staten Island task force of religious and community representatives aimed at fostering understanding and tolerance.

"We hope this will be taken seriously. There is benefit to bringing all of these issues to the surface and talking about them," said Lana Safah, a spokesman for the Muslim American Society.

"We should not be letting fear dictate our actions," she told CNY.

Church leaders, meanwhile, appealed for calm and respectful dialogue as the controversy unfolded.

A statement by Staten Island's co-vicars, Msgrs. James Dorney and Peter Finn, thanked the New York Chapter of the Muslim American Society for a recent statement expressing its commitment to communication and dialogue, and said that its sensitivity to the needs of the community "is a welcome step and a good example in that regard."

The vicars also said, however, that "there are legitimate questions and concerns from the community that deserve to be addressed."

"However, they can only be properly addressed if all parties approach the discussion in a spirit of openness and civility," the vicars said.

Archbishop Dolan, in a June 8 posting on his blog, related the controversy to one that had developed in May over a plan to build a mosque and community center near Ground Zero.

The archbishop wrote that "legitimate and understandable concerns" about the two projects have arisen, and that it's good that the concerns are being aired. He said he prayed the discussions proceed "with charity and civility, and reach a peaceful resolution."

"Yes, it is acceptable to ask questions about security, safety, the background and history of the groups hoping to build and buy," he wrote.

"What is not acceptable is to prejudge any group, or to let fear and bias trump the towering American (and for us Catholics, the religious) virtues of hospitality, welcome, and religious freedom," the archbishop wrote.

Edited by Sofiyya

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I agree it is absolutely appropriate to ask about security related issues. Pretending there is nothing to fear re all Islam is just wrong. Just as wrong as feeling all worshippers of Islam are to be feared.

There are legitimate security concerns. Plain. Simple.


B and J K-1 story

  • April 2004 met online
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Across Nation, Mosque Projects Meet Opposition

MOSQUE-1-articleLarge.jpg

Residents in Temecula, Calif., protested against a mosque’s proposed worship center.

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Published: August 7, 2010

While a high-profile battle rages over a mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, heated confrontations have also broken out in communities across the country where mosques are proposed for far less hallowed locations.

In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.

In late June, in Temecula, Calif., 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.

In Sheboygan, Wis., a few 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.

At one time, neighbors who did not want mosques in their backyards said their concerns were over traffic, parking and noise — the same reasons they might object to a church or a synagogue. But now the gloves are off.

In all of the recent conflicts, opponents 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 Shariah law.

These local skirmishes make clear that there is now widespread debate about whether the best way to uphold America’s democratic values is to allow Muslims the same religious freedom enjoyed by other Americans, or to pull away the welcome mat from a faith seen as a singular threat.

“What’s different is the heat, the volume, the level of hostility,” said Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky. “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.”

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.

The mosque proposed for the site near ground zero in Lower Manhattan cleared a final hurdle last week before the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg hailed the decision with a forceful speech on religious liberty. While an array of religious groups supported the project, opponents included the Anti-Defamation League, an influential Jewish group, and prominent Republicans like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker.

A smaller controversy is occurring in Temecula, about 60 miles north of San Diego, involving a typical stew of religion, politics and anti-immigrant sentiment. A Muslim community has been there for about 12 years and 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.

“We do all these activities and nobody notices,” he said. “Now that we have to build our center, everybody jumps to make it an issue.”

Recently, a small group of activists became alarmed about the mosque. Diana Serafin, a grandmother who lost her job in tech support this year, said she reached out to others she knew from attending Tea Party events and anti-immigration rallies. She said they read books by critics of Islam, including former Muslims like Walid Shoebat, Wafa Sultan and Manoucher Bakh. She also attended 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.

“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.”

“I do believe everybody has a right to freedom of religion,” she said. “But Islam is not about a religion. It’s a political government, and it’s 100 percent against our Constitution.”

Ms. Serafin was among an estimated 20 to 30 people who turned out to protest the mosque, including some who intentionally took dogs to offend those Muslims who consider dogs to be ritually unclean. But they were outnumbered by at least 75 supporters. The City of Temecula recently postponed a hearing on whether to grant the mosque a permit.

Larry Slusser, a Mormon and the secretary of the Interfaith Council of Murietta and Temecula, went to the protest to support the Muslim group. “I know them,” he said. “They’re good people. They have no ill intent. They’re good Americans. They are leaders in their professions.”

Of the protesters, he said, “they have fear because they don’t know them.”

Religious freedom is also at stake, Mr. Slusser said, adding, “They’re Americans, they deserve to have a place to worship just like everybody else.”

There are about 1,900 mosques in the United States, which run the gamut from makeshift prayer rooms in storefronts and houses to large buildings with adjoining community centers, according to a preliminary survey by Mr. Bagby, who conducted a mosque study 10 years ago and is now undertaking another.

A two-year study by a group of academics on American Muslims and terrorism concluded that contemporary mosques are actually a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam and terrorism. The study was conducted by professors with Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina. 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.

Radicalization of alienated Muslim youths is a real threat, Mr. Bagby said. “But the youth we worry about,” he said, “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. It became a political issue when Republican candidates for governor and Congress declared their opposition. (They were defeated in primary elections on Thursday.)

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 International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

“A mosque is not just a place for worship,” Ms. Darwish said in an interview. “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.”

Camie Ayash, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, lamented that people were listening to what she called “total disinformation” on Islam.

She 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.”

In Wisconsin, the conflict over the mosque was settled when 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.

“Every new group coming to this country — Jews, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Japanese — has gone through this,” Dr. Mirza said. “Now I think it’s our turn to pay the price, and eventually we will be coming out of this, too.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 15, 2010

An article last Sunday about the growing resistance to new and expanded mosques in the United States misidentified the sponsor of an event where Nonie Darwish, the founder of Arabs for Israel, spoke. The event, in Murfreesboro, Tenn., was sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, not by Christians United for Israel.

I agree it is absolutely appropriate to ask about security related issues. Pretending there is nothing to fear re all Islam is just wrong. Just as wrong as feeling all worshippers of Islam are to be feared.

There are legitimate security concerns. Plain. Simple.

Did you read this before you posted it? Do you see the raw contradiction in your post?

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Aug. 9, 2010

New Mosques Face Hostility Far from Ground Zero

Foes of Proposed Mosques in Nation's Heartland Have Deployed Dogs to Intimidate Muslims Holding Prayer Services

image6756540g.jpg

This July 14, 2010 file photo shows protester Greg Johnson, right, and counter protesters Ina Marshall and Tim Foster, left, arguing during a demonstration against a planned mosque and Islamic community center in front of the Rutherford County Courthouse in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (AP Photo/Christopher Berkey, File)

(AP) Muslims trying to build houses of worship in the nation's heartland, far from the heated fight in New York over plans for a mosque near the World Trade Center site, are running into opponents even more hostile and aggressive.

Foes of proposed mosques have deployed dogs to intimidate Muslims holding prayer services and spray painted "Not Welcome" on a construction sign, then later ripped it apart.

The 13-story, $100 million Islamic center that could soon rise two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York would dwarf the proposals elsewhere. Yet the smaller projects in local communities are stoking a sharper kind of fear and anger than has showed up in New York.

In the Nashville suburb of Murfreesboro, opponents of a new Islamic center say they believe the mosque will be more than a place of prayer. They are afraid the 15-acre site that was once farmland will be turned into a terrorist training ground for Muslim militants bent on overthrowing the U.S. government.

"They are not a religion. They are a political, militaristic group," said Bob Shelton, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in the area.

Shelton was among several hundred demonstrators recently who wore "Vote for Jesus" T-shirts and carried signs that said: "No Sharia law for USA!," referring to the Islamic code of law. Others took their opposition further, spray painting the sign announcing the "Future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro" and tearing it up.

In Temecula, California, opponents brought dogs to protest a proposed 25,000-square-foot mosque that would sit on four acres next to a Baptist church. Opponents worry it will turn the town into haven for Islamic extremists, but mosque leaders say they are peaceful and just need more room to serve members.

Islam is a growing faith in the U.S., though Muslims represent less than 1 percent of the country's population. Ten years ago, there were about 1,200 mosques nationwide. Now there are roughly 1,900, according to Ihsan Bagby, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky and a researcher on surveys of American mosques.

The growth involves Islamic centers expanding to accommodate more Muslims - as is the case in New York, California and Tennessee - as well as mosques cropping up in smaller, more isolated communities, Bagby said.

A 2007 survey of Muslim Americans by the Pew Research Center found that 39 percent of adult Muslims living in the United States were immigrants that had come here since 1990.

"In every religious community, one of the things that has happened over the course of immigration is that people get settled and eventually build something that says, 'We're here! We're not just camping,"' said Diana Eck, a professor of Comparative Religion at the Harvard University. "In part, that's because those communities have put down roots in America and made this their home."

Before the demonstration in Murfreesboro, a fundraiser was held for the new community center. Children behind a folding table sold homemade wooden plaques, door hangers and small serving trays decorated with glitter and messages like, "Peace," "I love being a Muslim" and "Freedom of Religion."

Mosque leader Essam Fathy, who helped plan the new building in Murfreesboro, has lived there for 30 years.

"I didn't think people would try that hard to oppose something that's in the Constitution," he said. "The Islamic center has been here since the early '80s, 12 years in this location. There's nothing different now except it's going to be a little bigger."

Bagby said that hasn't stopped foes from becoming more virulent.

"It was there before, but it didn't have as much traction. The larger public never embraced it," he said. "The level of anger, the level of hostility is much higher in the last few years."

The Murfreesboro mosque is one of three planned in the Nashville area that have drawn recent scrutiny.

Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a nonprofit that advocates for reform and modernization of Islam, said opposing mosques is no way to prevent terrorism.

Neighbors didn't want his family to build a mosque in 1979 in Neenah, Wisconsin, because they didn't understand who Muslims were.

"If the Wisconsin mosque had not been allowed to be built, I, at 17, might have put up walls and become a different person," he said. "If we start preventing these from being built, the backlash will be increased radicalization."

A study by professors at the Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina backs up Jasser's statement. The study found that mosques, religious bookstores and other communal associations that bring Muslim-Americans together helps prevent radicalization.

In Murfreesboro, Imam Ossama Bahloul said the center has hired a security guard for Friday prayer services and a security camera constantly pans the parking lot and doors. Their fears are not without cause.

Two years ago, several men broke into the Islamic Center of Columbia, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Murfreesboro, and torched it with molotov cocktails, stealing a stereo system and painting swastikas and "White Power" on the front of the building.

Bahloul said he hopes the controversy will die down with time. He said the situation has been hardest on the children.

"The second generation is facing a huge challenge because they did not think even for a second before that someone would say, 'You are not welcome."'

___________________________________________________________________

Catholic New York — June 17, 2010

Controversial Staten Island Mosque Plan Withdrawn

By MARY ANN POUST

The pastor of St. Margaret Mary parish in Midland Beach, Staten Island, has changed his position on selling an unused convent to a Muslim American group for a mosque and community center, and he has asked that the proposed sale not proceed.

The plan drew intense community opposition focused on distrust of the Muslim religion and concerns that Islam and terrorism are linked. There were also concerns that a mosque at St. Margaret Mary's convent would cause parking and traffic problems in the neighborhood.

As pastor, Father Keith Fennessy had signed a contract, subject to various Church and civil approvals, with the Muslim American Society. However, in a letter to Archbishop Dolan made public June 17, he said that after careful reflection he "concluded that the proposed sale would not serve the needs of the parish."

"As a result, as pastor of St. Margaret Mary parish, I wish to formally withdraw my support for the sale, and request that it not take place," he wrote.

His letter was shared with his fellow parish trustees and representatives of the Muslim American Society, said a statement from the archdiocese.

"In the light of Father Fennessy's letter as pastor, it is our hope that an amicable resolution can be reached between St. Margaret Mary parish and the Muslim American Society," the statement said.

Neighborhood opposition included a protest demonstration on Greeley Avenue last Sunday at which some 150 people chanted "No mosque! No sale!" Opponents also handed out fliers protesting the plan at local parishes.

Earlier, a June 9 meeting of the Midland Beach Civic Association drew an overflow crowd of nearly 400 angry residents who denounced the plan before a panel of local Muslims.

Several challenged the group's claims that it has no ties to terrorism, with one asking, "Wouldn't you agree that every terrorist, past and present, has come out of a mosque?"

Many were critical not just of the Muslim group but also of Father Fennessy for negotiating the sale.

Bill Owens, a resident, called on Staten Islanders to call and write the archdiocese in protest. "We're here to try to save our neighborhood," he said at the meeting.

After Sunday's demonstration, the Washington, D.C.-based Muslim group-which has repeatedly denied any links to terrorist groups and has denounced all forms of violence-called for creation of a Staten Island task force of religious and community representatives aimed at fostering understanding and tolerance.

"We hope this will be taken seriously. There is benefit to bringing all of these issues to the surface and talking about them," said Lana Safah, a spokesman for the Muslim American Society.

"We should not be letting fear dictate our actions," she told CNY.

Church leaders, meanwhile, appealed for calm and respectful dialogue as the controversy unfolded.

A statement by Staten Island's co-vicars, Msgrs. James Dorney and Peter Finn, thanked the New York Chapter of the Muslim American Society for a recent statement expressing its commitment to communication and dialogue, and said that its sensitivity to the needs of the community "is a welcome step and a good example in that regard."

The vicars also said, however, that "there are legitimate questions and concerns from the community that deserve to be addressed."

"However, they can only be properly addressed if all parties approach the discussion in a spirit of openness and civility," the vicars said.

Archbishop Dolan, in a June 8 posting on his blog, related the controversy to one that had developed in May over a plan to build a mosque and community center near Ground Zero.

The archbishop wrote that "legitimate and understandable concerns" about the two projects have arisen, and that it's good that the concerns are being aired. He said he prayed the discussions proceed "with charity and civility, and reach a peaceful resolution."

"Yes, it is acceptable to ask questions about security, safety, the background and history of the groups hoping to build and buy," he wrote.

"What is not acceptable is to prejudge any group, or to let fear and bias trump the towering American (and for us Catholics, the religious) virtues of hospitality, welcome, and religious freedom," the archbishop wrote.

I would like more details about how it was determined a dog was meant as an intimidation?

People bring dogs everywhere, these folks seem like they are trying to create a scene where none exists.

It is very common for businesses, home owners and EVEN CHURCHES to run into opposition when they try to build or add on.

People are concerned about..

Road traffic

Environmental impact.

Zoning changes it might bring.

a nd a dozen other issues... including "community impact".

We have laws which prevent some businesses from being located within X amount of feet from a church or school.

Sure people are free to have a go-go bar... but not anywhere they want.


type2homophobia_zpsf8eddc83.jpg




"Those people who will not be governed by God


will be ruled by tyrants."



William Penn

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Muslim group: Sheepshead Bay mosque WILL be built — and it won't be so bad

By Thomas Tracy

Last Updated: 11:11 PM, July 27, 2010

Posted: 11:11 PM, July 27, 2010

Backers of the proposed mosque in Sheepshead Bay aren’t letting a few angry neighbors and a bomb threat deter them from seeing their dreams become a reality.

“We are not backing off,” said Ibrahim Anse, a backer for the Voorhies Avenue mosque project, who is also the group’s main architect. “This is our right and it’s a cause we believe in.”

Anse’s words defiantly counter the vitriol spewed on the block between E. 28th and E. 29th streets last month when 200 protesters inferred that the mosque’s builders were connected to Islamic extremists.

One neighbor even claimed he would blow the mosque up if it was built.

Other opponents have said that the mosque and community center would create traffic and parking nightmares for the neighborhood.

“We’re not racist, we’re realists,” said Susan Gerber, a 30-year resident of Sheepshead Bay. “We are entitled to traffic studies and noise studies and safety studies. People will be walking in the gutter to get around [the mosque]. They’ll be all kinds of fatalities.”

Yet Anse says the four-story building will have very little impact on the block.

The mosque will be open five times a day for prayers, but Anse doesn’t expect more than 20 people to show up for services. About 150 worshippers would come to the mosque during Friday and holiday services, and most of the faithful will come on foot from within the neighborhood.

“And if they park illegally and get a ticket, they deserve it,” he added. “[Opponents] have an image in their heads that this is going to be a school with 500 to 600 students, but that’s a complete exaggeration. There are not going to be that many people coming. It’ll serve about 150 families, but not all of them are going to be gathered at the same place at the same time.

“Some may notice a change in the area, but not in the way the neighborhood thinks,” he said.

The mosque and community center is the brainchild of longtime Sheepshead Bay resident Ahmed Allowey, who envisions a mosque on the first two floors and classrooms and a library on the third and fourth floors.

Once it’s built, it will be run by the Muslim American Society, a nationwide organization that some claim is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist group that wants to create an Islamic state in the U.S.

Yet Mahdi Bray, the Muslim American Society’s executive director, said those allegations couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We were formed in 1993 as a Muslim-American organization,” he said. “Even when we talk about international matters, we do it from a Muslim-American perspective. We’re not a mouthpiece for any group outside the U.S.

“We have an excellent record with local law enforcement,” he continued, adding that the Muslim American Society already runs a mosque on Bath Avenue in Bath Beach. “We’ve been across the street from a police station [the 62nd Precinct stationhouse] for 10 years. If we were up to something shady, they would have known about it.”

Lana Safah, an administrator at the Bath Beach mosque, said affairs such as weddings and funerals probably won’t be held at the Voorhies Avenue mosque. Rather, those events will still be held at her house of worship.

“[The mosque] will just accommodate the community in that neighborhood,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to go from Exit 9 on the Belt Parkway to Exit 5 just to say prayers that don’t exceed 10 minutes. It’ll serve the local and the immediate needs of the community.”

And when she says the community — she means the entire community.

Besides religious instruction, other classes, such as English as a second language instruction, will be available, she said.

“The mosque will target the needs of the Muslim community, but be open to anybody who needs it,” she said, adding she hopes residents of Voorhies Avenue and Muslim worshippers learn to respect each other over time.

“We’re not backing away, but we dont want to force this on the community either,” she said, calling the hate spewed at last month’s rally “unfortunate and disappointing.”

“We do not believe [the anti-Muslim] rhetoric is the sentiment of everyone in that area,” she said. “We know the people of Sheepshead Bay believe in diversity.”

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it's not "islam" you need to fear :wacko: it's the idiots who get weird ideas in their heads and act on them...

just like you dont "fear christianity" when some loco KKK/AyranBrotherhood whackadoodle goes on a killing spree.

just soemthing to think about... did we see Baptist churches getting protested after little children were killed down south? no. but muslims being mostly a peaceful people are easy target arent they? i see same thing with Amish here, i've heard with my own ears a magistrate in court say "they are a bunch of inbred retards" but guess what? no group of Amish was on the courthosue steps next day to demand his job. same with muslims... you wont see them protesting the abuse people give and quite frankjly i am sick of it. anyone who is 'different' is a target of hatemongering in this great United States of American. No wonder so many countries look at americans with disgust and label USCs ignorant, self-indulgent, hippocrits.

and quite frankly, i'm surprised there arent muslims snapping and killing people every day becasue of hatemongering idiots harrassing and threatening them. but maybe i'm just a little pissy today and seeing things in a wrong light :D


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I am still a conservative, but no longer a Republican or a Tea Partier. There is a certain ick factor that was creeping up on me before all of the anti-mosque propaganda started due to how Conservative = Christian was becoming the normative value. I boycotted a national conservative gathering in my own neighborhood, the Western Conservative Summit, after writing to the sponsors, Colorado Christian University, about the overtly Christian and anti-Muslim tone of the event, and receiving no response.

I must admit that, even so, the level and irrationality of the opposition to the Cordoba House caught me off-guard, but seems to be par for the discourse these days. The Right is becoming the Left, and I am an island belonging to nowhere.

Edited by Sofiyya

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[{snipped}

One neighbor even claimed he would blow the mosque up if it was built.

{snipped}

perfect example of the harrassment and intolerance...


if you gave your info (receipt #s, full name, etc) to anyone on VJ under the guise that they would "help" you through the immigration journey with his inside contacts (like his sister at USCIS) ... please contact OLUInquiries@dhs.gov, and go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact to report anything suspicious. Contact your congressman and senator's offices as well.

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And this is precisely why it's a shame liberals have allowed the RWNs to turn the 2nd Amendment into a RWN issue. It is nothing of the sort.

Muslims trying to pray who face intimidation need to turn to 2nd Amendment remedies.

which would play into the hands of who? :huh:


* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

 

USE THE REPORT BUTTON INSTEAD OF MESSAGING A MODERATOR!

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it would be counterproductive, you're right.

you need more caffeine when i'm having to point out the obvious to you...

Edited by charles!

* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

 

USE THE REPORT BUTTON INSTEAD OF MESSAGING A MODERATOR!

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