Archive for Georgia

Georgia State Rep: ‘I’m Afraid’ Of Romney’s Mormon Faith, But ‘It’s Better Than A Muslim’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on January 7, 2012 by loonwatch
State Rep. Judy Manning (R-GA)
State Rep. Judy Manning (R-GA)

Georgia State Rep: ‘I’m Afraid’ Of Romney’s Mormon Faith, But ‘It’s Better Than A Muslim’

By Zaid Jilani

One obstacle that Mitt Romney may face as he asks for the support of Republican primary voters is bigotry against the Mormon faith.

Marietta Daily Journal story published yesterday demonstrates the bigotry that Romney may have to overcome. The Journal quotes Republican state Rep. Judy Manning saying that she’s scared of Romney’s Mormon faith. But at least he’s “better than a Muslim”:

“I think Mitt Romney is a nice man, but I’m afraid of his Mormon faith,” Manning said. “It’s better than a Muslim.Of course, every time you look at the TV these days you find an ad on there telling us how normal they are. So why do they have to put ads on the TV just to convince us that they’re normal if they are normal? … If the Mormon faith adhered to a past philosophy of pluralism, multi-wives, that doesn’t follow the Christian faith of one man and one woman, and that concerns me.”

Manning’s criticism of Romney’s faith and her attack on Islam as an even more inferior religion — in addition to other comments she has made against LGBT rights — demonstrates an important point. Progressives and others who oppose bigotry and preach tolerance must denounce discrimination of every kind, not just because all discrimination is wrong, but because validating discrimination against one group can lead to increased discrimination against other groups in the future. (HT: @GregFrayser)

Opponents say they will protest plans for new mosque in metro Atlanta community

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2011 by loonwatch
GeorgiaGeorgia

Opponents say they will protest plans for new mosque in metro Atlanta community

LILBURN, Ga. — Opponents of a mosque being planned by a Muslim congregation in the metro Atlanta suburb of Lilburn are planning a protest.

WSB Radio reports (http://bit.ly/qUW7Jd) that opponents are planning to protest Monday night outside the Lilburn City Council meeting.

The congregation plans to submit a third request to the city for rezoning of four acres at the corner of U.S. Highway 29 and Hood Road so they can build a 20,000 square foot mosque and a 200 space parking lot.

Twice in the past, the city has denied requests to change the zoning.

The city council is scheduled to hear the congregation’s most recent proposal later this month.

___

Information from: WSB-AM, http://wsbradio.com/

Original post: Opponents say they will protest plans for new mosque in metro Atlanta community

Cartersville, Georgia Mosque Vandalized

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on April 19, 2011 by loonwatch

Islamophobes will say it means nothing.

Cartersville, Georgia: FBI investigating vandalism at mosque

Members of the Muslim community are concerned that their place of worship has been the target of an apparent hate crime for the second time in less than a month.

The Islamic Center of Cartersville was vandalized earlier this week, according to a Bartow County Sheriff’s Department incident report. Deputies were dispatched to 71 Maple Ridge Drive Tuesday morning shortly after Bilal Mahmood reported the damages.

Mahmood told the deputy he was the last person at the center Monday night and everything was intact.

When he returned Tuesday at 6:30, he saw three front glass entrance doors with large holes in them. He also saw one window pane on the front of the building with a large hole. ”Bilal allowed me to enter into the building where I retrieved four large rocks that were used to damage the window and doors,” the deputy wrote in the report.

Amjad Tausique worships at the mosque and helped start that location; he said he’s very concerned. ”We’ve been working and reaching out in the community for a long time,” he said. Tausique said Muslims have been in the city for close to 40 years. ”We are tax-paying, peaceful, law-abiding citizens,” he said. “It’s totally not right for someone to come and destroy the place of worship.”

The center was also vandalized in March, and BCSO investigator Jonathan Rogers said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is handling the case and have leads.

Besides the damages to the door and windows, Tausique said nothing was stolen. During the last vandalism, a stink bomb was thrown into the building, which Tausique said smelled for days. Meanwhile, security cameras were installed and an extra patrol in the area at nights was requested.

Tausique said they just want to be treated like everyone else in the community. “We have families like anyone else, kids in school, jobs and business,” he said. ”Just because we are Muslim and we worship one God, doesn’t mean we’re not American.”

Daily Tribune News, 15 April 2011

Georgia Going the Way of Oklahoma and other States

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by loonwatch

Oklahoma got the Islamophobic ball rolling.

Lawyers Speak Against Ga. Bill That Bans Use of Foreign Laws in State Courts

(Law.com)

Critics of legislation in the General Assembly that would prohibit the adoption and practice of foreign laws in state courts say it unfairly targets Muslims, could discourage international business in Georgia and violates federal arbitration laws.

House Bill 45, introduced by Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, states “it shall be the public policy of this state to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application … will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” The bill also would prevent arbitrators or tribunals from enforcing a foreign law that didn’t meet constitutional standards.

Jacobs, a lawyer and vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Fulton County Daily Report the bill would “ban the use of Sharia law in state courts.” He acknowledged that he was not aware of any instances in Georgia where a plaintiff or defendant asked the court to apply Sharia law but believes it has happened elsewhere.

“We’re seeing more of a feeling that Sharia law should be applied in domestic cases,” he said, such as divorces.

The chairman of the House Judiciary panel, Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, has signed on as a sponsor but hedged when asked whether he supports the bill.

“I want to see what comes up in hearings,” Willard said, to answer this question: “Does it serve a real purpose or is that standard [that federal and state laws trump foreign laws] already recognized by courts in the state?”

M. Khurram Baig, a litigator with Kumar, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee in Atlanta and a member of the Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers, said the answer is no: “I don’t know of any instance where foreign law has prevailed in a Georgia court ever. So why is this necessary?”

“On its face,” he added, the bill “sounds fairly benign, fairly neutral. But given the political climate and timing, it’s fair to say it brings to bear the popular concerns that Sharia law will infiltrate America and is part of the Islamaphobia wave.”

Jacobs said he disagrees with the accusation of Islamaphobia.

“The bills speaks for itself on its merits,” he said.

Supporters and critics have mentioned a 2010 case in New Jersey in which a Moroccan man accused of domestic violence claimed a religious right to have nonconsenual sex his wife. But the state’s appeals court overturned the ruling of a superior court judge that the husband engaged in conduct constituting sexual assault but did not have the requisite criminal intent in doing so, finding that the man’s cultural and religious beliefs did not trump state statutes outlawing rape.

William E. Raftery, a research analyst for the National Center for State Courts, is tracking similar legislation being considered in about seven other states.

The first was in Oklahoma, where legislators called for a referendum in November 2010 banning Islamic law in state courtrooms. More than two-thirds of voters there passed the measure, but a federal judge issued an injunction a few days later blocking it, finding it posed a First Amendment infringement.

Raftery says Georgia’s bill appears to be like a “cut and paste” of the ones drafted in Tennessee, Louisiana and South Carolina.

“There are two different flavors. One is like Oklahoma’s, which specifically mentions Sharia law and calls for a constitutional amendment and bars recognizing the law of other states if they adopt Sharia law,” Raftery said. “The other is like Tennessee’s, which was the first state to propose a statutory change and didn’t mention Sharia. It just says ‘foreign laws.’”

Isam Salah, head of King & Spalding’s Middle East and Islamic Finance Practice Group, said he views the bill as a fearful reaction to the Islamic faith but maintains it won’t directly affect his practice.

“All investment and financing agreements we are drafting are U.S. law-governed documents,” he said. “Clients sometimes come to us and say, ‘Can this transaction be under Georgia law with the provision that it also be subject to Sharia law?’ And we say no.”

But Salah said he is concerned that HB 45 would advance the view among some Americans “that anything that is Islamic-related is evil. And people hearing about this [in predominantly Muslim countries] could be saying, ‘Maybe the U.S. is not the most hospitable place for our investments.’”

Salah noted that in New York, where he practices, legislators are considering tweaking tax laws to make them more acceptable to Sharia-compliant investments, namely Islamic bonds called sukuk.

Jacobs said he understands the concern but believes “Georgia courts ought to be in the business of making sure the law applied in Georgia courts meets minimal constitutional standards.”

Michael J. Broyde, academic director of Emory University’s law and religion program, said he thinks “the consequences of the bill have not been well thought out” partly because its restrictions on arbitrators and choice of venue would “incapacitate Georgia companies as they engage in international commerce.”

A bigger problem, he added, is that the bill “violates the Federal Arbitration Act and becomes an unconstitutional exercise of state authority.”

“Arbitration is a routine business exercise by people who are prepared to sacrifice some of their constitutional rights in return for reduced cost and expediency,” said Broyde, who also is an ordained rabbi and member of the Beth Din of America — the largest Jewish law court in the country.

Banning people from “willingly submitting to an ecclesiastical tribunal” is “inconsistent with traditional American practice.”

Jacobs said he’s hoping to resolve any perceived problems in Judiciary Committee meetings.

“I’m certainly willing to hear from practitioners who have concerns about specific applications of the bill as it is introduced.”

 

Georgia Mosque Set on Fire

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by loonwatch

Official: Mosque Fire Deliberately Set

Fire officials said authorities believe a fire at a Marietta mosque was arson and they are investigating it as a possible hate crime.Asst. Chief Scott Tucker said authorities found vandalism inside the mosque where a fire erupted just after midnight Tuesday. He would no specify what type of vandalism it was.Flames raced through the front entrance and damaged the prayer hall at the mosque on Powder Springs Street in Marietta.The damage to the mosque is extensive. Fire destroyed the front entrance of Masjid Al Head just after a group of Muslim men wrapped up their last prayer and left for the evening.“We locked the door and everything and we left and suddenly he called me and said, ‘There’s fire,’” said Iman Hafiz Inayatullah of Nashid Al Head.“One of them happened to come back by after they left and observed the smoke. He got closer and noticed the structure was on fire,” said Asst. Chief Mark Anderson of the Marietta Fire Department.Arson investigators went through the building looking for a cause.Tucker said ATF agents and the Georgia Fire Marshal’s Office are now involved.No one was injured. Officials continue to investigate.

Update: A Muslim, who attended the mosque is now being charged for burning the mosque. As much as Islamophobes would love to gloat about this, it really doesn’t let them off the hook when anti-Muslims bomb and vandalize mosques.

 

Another Mosque Controvery: Lilburn

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by loonwatch
Like Momma like Son

Some people seem to think that Muslims building mosques will somehow put them in danger of becoming targets of terror.

Lilburn mosque foes allege harassment

by Shane Blatt

Lilburn’s Hood Road carries new Gwinnett into old Gwinnett. The mile of asphalt begins with a mosque at U.S. 29 and turns into a byway of houses, trees and gardens.

But now, when the sun goes down, tension grows in this tidy, middle-class neighborhood.

Some residents opposed to a mosque expansion on Hood Road say for the past seven months, they’ve been the frequent targets of harassment, mostly by those they describe as “Middle Eastern men”. But a founder of the mosque says the claims are unfounded and the city’s mayor, who lives on Hood Road, hasn’t witnessed anything unusual.

Nonetheless, residents have reported vehicles traveling the road at night with occupants yelling, making obscene gestures, snapping photos, even confronting two women in their driveway.

Since November, when city leaders ruled against a local Muslim congregation’s plans to expand, the Lilburn Police Department has received 21 calls of suspicious activity along Hood Road.

Lilburn police officials say they have investigated every claim and patrolled Hood Road around the clock for two months starting in April, when reports started to escalate.

“We have been unable to substantiate any crime by any person there,” Lilburn police Capt. Bruce Hedley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “[Residents] feel certain people have been driving up and down the road harassing them. Suspicious cars simply driving down the road is not something we can arrest someone for.”

And Wasi Zaidi, a founding member of the Muslim congregation of Dar-E-Abbas, said residents’ claims are “all lies and B.S.,” trumped up by a handful of people who have a political ax to grind against the mayor and the Police Department.

Still, residents say, the harassment is real. Some have installed security camera systems. Others are carrying guns.

“A lot of people are locked and loaded because they don’t know what’s going to happen,” resident Angel Alonso, 46, said. “We have a feeling somebody is going to get hurt.”

Residents say the harassment started Nov. 18, the same day the Lilburn City Council rejected the congregation’s proposal for a 20,000-square-foot mosque, cemetery and gym at U.S. 29 and Hood Road. The council’s decision has since sparked a federal religious discrimination lawsuit against the city.

The congregation has worshipped at two 2,000-square-foot buildings on the same property for nearly 12 years. It owns 1.4 acres of the land and wanted to buy an additional 6.5 acres to accommodate the city’s growing Muslim population. Lilburn Mayor Diana Preston owns four of those acres.

In November, more than 400 residents packed the Gwinnett County courthouse to protest the rezoning. They argued it would pose traffic and parking problems and run afoul of the city’s land-use plan.

After the meeting in Lawrenceville, resident Janie Hood said she was followed and boxed in on U.S. 29 by a van and sport utility vehicle full of “Middle Eastern” males, according to a police report. The vehicles were pulled over. Hood didn’t pursue the matter further, the report said.

But Hood said she didn’t drop it. Since March, she said she has spoken three times to the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, which is investigating.

Now the 56-year-old Hood, whose father and grandfather built Hood Road, won’t sleep at her house at night, not since an attempted break-in in late December, she said. And on April 23, Hood said five vehicles pulled in front of her property. Two to three men exited and approached, according to a police report. Hood’s daughter, Christi Nichols, who feared for her safety, grabbed a firearm and told the men to leave, the report said.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” Hood said. “All we get from the Police Department is, ‘Stay in your house.’ We will stay in our house, but we should haven’t to.”

Zaidi, of the Muslim congregation, said the 90-plus families who worship at the mosque have “nothing to do with this.”

“They’re saying the mayor isn’t doing her job, the police chief isn’t doing his job,” Zaidi said. “But if they falsely accuse us, we will sue them.”

For months, the mayor was in the cross hairs of the controversy. In January, a group of residents demanded Preston step down or be removed from office for trying to sell her land to the congregation. Preston maintained she had a right to sell her property and refused to quit.

To avoid a conflict of interest, Preston recuses herself from all mosque-related meetings.

As for the harassment claims, Preston gardens close to dusk and up until recently has slept with her windows open. She said she hasn’t seen or heard anything.

“It’s a mystery,” the mayor said. “But every complaint that is made the city is taking seriously and investigating it and giving it due process. A policeman is here quite frequently. I really don’t know what else [the city] could do.”

Yusof Burke, president of the board for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Georgia, said the city’s decision against the rezoning created tension in the neighborhood, but he didn’t think it would boil up into this.

“I’ve never heard of this happening before,” Burke said of the alleged harassment. “The best solution is to meet and talk things out.”

A month ago, a group of residents met with the city manager and police officials.

“We were told that yes, people can take pictures of our houses. Yes, they can stop in front of our houses,” resident Allan Owen said. “The city has essentially been useless.”

Councilman Scott Batterton said the city has tied up significant police manpower to investigate every claim.

“I feel like we need to make no apologies in terms of our efforts to catch or to see what’s going on on Hood Road,” he said. “Policeman like to arrest people for doing wrong. So far, they have not yet been able to identify anyone.”

Capt. Hedley said Lilburn police officers now patrol Hood Road twice a day, and they will continue to investigate all leads.

“I’d love for the community to return to where it was,” Hedley said. “A nice, peaceful neighborhood.”

 

Georgia Resident: I’m Prejudice, I Just Don’t Like Muslims

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by loonwatch

Georgia Resident: I’m Prejudice against Muslims

Dar E Abbas Congregants
Dar E Abbas Congregants

A resident of Lilburn, Georgia comments on the reason he is opposed to a local Mosque, “I am prejudice, I just don’t like Muslims and I don’t want them taking over our neighborhood.” Is it any surprise that this is in Georgia? At least he expressed his beliefs openly, though he did wish to remain anonymous.

Lilbrun Resident: “I dont Like Muslims”

LILBURN, Ga — The Dar-E-Abbas Islamic center currently sits on a small plot of land on Highway 29 and Hood Road. They want to raze the current building and build a two-story mosque.

It’s that expansion that has residents living in the area up in arms.“I am prejudice, I just don’t like Muslims and I don’t want them taking over our neighborhood,” said one resident who lives near the mosque. He did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.

“I don’t want someone coming to my house and burning it down.”An attorney for the mosque, Woody Galloway, told CBS Atlanta he hopes the issues residents have isn’t about religion, but, knows it is a strong possibility.

“The mosque just wants to be a part of this community and make it better,” Galloway said.