Archive for Islamic Center

Bigots Resume Offensive against Murfreesboro Islamic Center

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by loonwatch

Islamic Center of Murfreesboro

Islamic Center of Murfreesboro

Bigots resume offensive against Murfreesboro Islamic Center 

MURFREESBORO — With an April 25 court hearing drawing near in the fight over mosque construction here, foes of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s plans are taking the battle regional.

But while the court issue next month will focus on whether Rutherford County provided ample public notice for the 2010 meeting in which county planners approved the mosque site plan, opponents remain focused on a religious conflict, sounding a warning about the perceived spread of Islam and the damage they believe it will do to American society.

“This is not a Muslim-bashing deal. I don’t have any problem with Muslims. It’s Islam that’s causing it,” Kingdom Ministries pastor Darrel Whaley told a crowd of about 70 people last Tuesday at the Cannon County Senior Citizen Center.

Whaley warned the group that Woodbury and Cannon County are part of the area the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro plans to cover, based on a 2010 posting on the ICM’s website. It’s one of several counties surrounding Rutherford where Whaley said he hopes to deliver the message.

The minister told the crowd he was glad some Muslims felt free enough to attend the event and noted that when he preaches each Sunday at his Walter Hill church, not everyone is going to agree. “They’ve got that right,” he said.

Yet when the former president of the ICM tried to address the crowd to refute “misconceptions” later in the event following presentations by attorneys Joe Brandon and Tom Smith, Whaley refused to let him speak.

“I came here to say open our hearts to each other,” Ahmed Elsayed said, turning to the audience and pleading for the opportunity to speak. “We want to have mutual respect.”

One man in the audience argued that he had served in the military to help maintain the right to free speech and that Elsayed should be allowed to speak.

Whaley’s presentation in Woodbury Tuesday quickly shifted into a Sunday sermon, in which he told the audience, “There are no other gods with the offer of heaven. It is his will that everyone be saved. God so loved the world that he gave his son – for Muslims … for atheists. To deny his truth is to be willfully ignorant or intellectually dishonest.”

But moments after saying, “God loves Muslims just as much as anyone in the room,” the minister outlined a seven-step plan by Islam to dominate the world, starting with the 9/11 attack, followed by the destabilization of secular Muslim governments, the toppling of moderate Muslim regimes, a pending confrontation with the West and a declaration of total domination by 2020. “Their goal is to turn our nation into an Islamic republic,” he said.

Daily News Journal, 3 March 2012

Update: Raylazir Legend Faces Hate Crime Charges Due to “Anti-Muslim Statements” in Attack on Mosque

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by loonwatch

The man had a personal vendetta against his targets, but also confessed anti-Muslim sentiments. (Thanks for all the hat tips)

Suspect confesses in Queens, L.I. firebomb attacks: cops 

A Queens man confessed Tuesday to a firebombings spree on New Year’s Day — claiming a personal vendetta drove him to tossing the Molotov cocktails, police said.

The firebug — identified by sources as Raylazir Legend, 40 — told detectives that each of the five attacks in Queens and Elmont, L.I. — including an attempt to torch a Jamaica mosque — stemmed from ongoing beefs.

“The suspect made statements incriminating himself in each of the five firebombings, citing a personal grievance or dispute in each instance,” said Paul Browne, top spokesman for the NYPD.

Legend, an unemployed towtruck driver, was still waiting to be charged Tuesday, but a law enforcement official said he faces arson and hate-crime charges because of “broad anti-Muslim statements” he made during his confession.

Legend was cuffed about 8 a.m. Tuesday, after Detectives Richard Johnson and Charles LoPresti of the 103rd Precinct saw him get into a stolen car linked to the first attack: a Hillside Ave. bodega.

Legend was caught by workers at the bodega on Dec. 27 trying to steal a carton of milk and a Starbucks Frappuccino.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-questioning-suspect-queens-firebomb-attacks-article-1.1000340#ixzz1iRwt66pp

New York Times: Muslims Targeted in Wave of Firebombing

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2012 by loonwatch

All the facts on this are not clear yet, but it is being reported as a bias crime in many reports. If this holds true then it will be another manifestation of the all too real threat to Muslim communities from radical hatemongers.

Four Attacks in Queens With Homemade Firebombs

By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS (NYTimes)

A wave of arson attacks spread across eastern Queens on Sunday night, and the police said the firebombings were being investigated as bias crimes — with Muslims as the targets.

No one was hurt in the four attacks, in which homemade firebombs were apparently used. In three of the four attacks, the police said, Molotov cocktails were made with Starbucks bottles.

The first attack occurred just before 8 p.m. at a bodega at 179-40 Hillside Avenue.

Ten minutes later, another crude firebomb was thrown, this time at a private home at 146-62 107th Avenue, and the house caught fire.

Half an hour after that, an Islamic center at 89-89 Van Wyck Expressway was the target. The last attack occurred at a house at 88-20 170th Street, the police said.

The Islamic center, the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, houses one of the most prominent Shiite mosques in New York. According to its Web site it offers funeral services, counseling and free SAT classes. It lists branches in several cities, including Montreal and Islamabad, Pakistan. Calls to the foundation were not returned Sunday night.

The firebomb, made with a glass Starbucks bottle, was thrown at the door of the center, possibly from a van as it drove it by, the police said. The door was blackened, but the building did not catch fire.

A similar weapon was found at the bodega, the site of the first attack, according to the police. The bomb might have been thrown from inside the store, because the counter sustained some damage, the police said.

It was the second attack, on 107th Avenue, police and fire officials said, that caused the most damage.

Shortly after 8 p.m., someone called 911, saying that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown at their home. The house caught fire, and it took more than 60 firefighters about 40 minutes to bring it under control.

In the fourth attack, two bottles were thrown at the house on 170th Street. A spokesman for the Fire Department said that the person who called 911 said they saw a vehicle drive by as the bottles were hurled toward their home. But the flames quickly fizzled.

Islamic Center Hosts Free Clinic

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by loonwatch

Islamic Center Hosts Free Clinic

Carla Lewis had never been in a mosque before and she wasn’t sure what to expect.

“Because I’m a Christian, and you hear all this propaganda that if you’re not Muslim, you’re their enemy,” she said.

Still, she entered, a little confused for a moment about where to go and how to behave until someone showed up to assist her.

“Are you here for the clinic? Let me show you the way,” someone offered.

Lewis, a 47-year-old truck driver, said her private health insurance lapsed in April after she took a leave of absence to care for her ill child. She needed a physical exam before returning to work, so a flier in the library piqued her interest.

It was advertising a free medical clinic at the Islamic Center of Tucson.

“I came and found it was not what I thought,” Lewis said. “People were very friendly and professional and welcoming.”

When organizers first conceived of the clinic, they hoped to reach people who, like Lewis, never had direct experience with Tucson’s Islamic community.

The clinic was the brainchild of Yahya Nomaan, 20, a pre-med student at the University of Arizona and the son of a pediatrician.

With hostile rhetoric about Islam growing to a crescendo in recent years over the building of mosques in communities from New York to California, Nomaan saw the need to highlight the contributions of Muslim Americans.

“You go to any hospital, you have a Doctor Khan, you have a Doctor Hassan,” he said. “Clearly medicine is our forte.”

So Nomaan and his father, Dr. Mohammed Nomaan, decided to start a free monthly medical clinic. The Islamic Center of Tucson offered its space, and local doctors from the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America volunteered to staff it.

During a recent clinic, the younger Nomaan and other volunteers circled the brightly lighted waiting area, taking vital signs and making small talk with patients.

Maryam Tanbal – an earnest 17-year-old with a disarming smile – greeted patients and gave them the requisite paperwork.

She said sometimes people seem a little hesitant when they first arrive because they’re unsure how to behave in a mosque. They wonder if they need to take their shoes off, for example.

She assures them that while shoes should not be worn in the rooms where prayers are held, the clinic is located in a separate area, and patients should keep their shoes on.

October marked the sixth clinic at the Islamic Center, and the younger Nomaan said the operation goes smoother each time. In the past, tiny glitches have arisen – one of the rooms in the mosque was locked, or a blood pressure cuff broke.

“Today was the first clinic with no hiccups,” Nomaan said. “We have God to praise for that.”

If you go

• Clinic location: Islamic Center of Tucson, 901 E. First St.

• When: Last Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Contact: 329-1428

• Cost: Free

• Appointments: Recommended but not required

Anissa Tanweer is a University of Arizona student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at starapprentice@azstarnet.com or 573-4117.

Missouri: Vandalism at Islamic Center costly to clear

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2011 by loonwatch

A strange sort of hate crime in Missouri. Spencer is probably scratching his head, “Islamophobia, what Islamophobia?”

Vandalism at Islamic Center costly to clear

(News-Leader)

A spokesman for the Islamic Center of Springfield says removing the graffiti left on the group’s building late Friday or early Saturday could cost $1,000 to have sandblasted off.

Joseph Pollpeter said the graffiti was discovered on three outside walls when members showed up for the 6 a.m. prayer Saturday morning. Those who attended prayer Friday night did not see any.

Pollpeter said he contacted the Springfield police, as well as the FBI. He believes the messages constitute a hate crime.

He described graffiti left on the building at 2151 East Division St. as including: a phallic symbol near the door where women enter; phrases saying “gay insurrection,” “gay is ok” and a reference to Allah being gay; profane four-letter words; and the words “You bash us in Pakistan we bash you here;” a pentangle; and a Star of David.

“I don’t know if the people happened to be gay or bisexual or not, or if they were just using terms to be insulting,” said Pollpeter. “There is no one we have our fingers pointed at. We are on good terms with all our neighbors.”

 

NYTimes: Imam Behind Islamic Center Plans US Tour

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by loonwatch

Imam Plans US Tour

by Paul Vitello

The controversy over plans to build an Islamic center in downtown Manhattan subsided in November, almost abruptly, with the end of an election season that amplified its most emotional underlying issues.

But the imam behind the project has decided to risk reigniting that opposition by setting out on a nationwide speaking tour next month to promote the planned center and to foster dialogue about Muslim life in America.

“Controversy has never been a problem for me,” said the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, whose proposal to build the high-rise community center and mosque two blocks north of ground zero made him the prime target last summer of opponents who viewed the plan, known as Park51 for its address on Park Place, as a Trojan horse for Muslim triumphalism. “I think the controversy of last summer helped initiate a discourse that has been very good for the country. I’m an American, and I believe that Americans are problem solvers. So I believe further discussion can only be good.”

The tour, which he described in an interview on Wednesday, is scheduled to begin in Detroit, the city with the largest Muslim population in the United States. It will include stops in Chicago, Washington, San Antonio and several college campuses, starting with Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and the University of North Carolina.

Because of death threats that the imam has received, none of his addresses will be open to the general public, though the local news media in each place will be invited to attend, and to ask questions afterward, he said.

Some of the project’s most outspoken opponents welcomed the imam’s plan for a speaking tour, though for reasons of their own.

“I think this will help to revive the opposition, not only from Americans in general but from Muslims in this country, who don’t want this thing built,” said Ryan Mauro, a conservative blogger and the producer of a documentary about the planned community center.

The film, “Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mega-Mosque,” focuses on opposition by some families of 9/11 victims.

Pamela Geller, another conservative blogger who organized many of the public demonstrations against the center last summer, said she planned to marshal protests when the City Council meets next month to review Wal-Mart’s proposal to open a store in Manhattan. “Christine Quinn is against Wal-Mart, but she’s in favor of the megamosque. Typical liberal elitist thinking,” she said, referring to the City Council speaker.

Ms. Geller also predicted that the imam’s speaking tour would serve the opposition. “The opposition has never gone away, and will never go away,” she said.

At the height of the controversy over the summer and fall, Mr. Adbul Rauf was on a scheduled speaking tour in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The tour was sponsored by the State Department’s cultural exchange bureau, known as the Department of Public Diplomacy.

He considered canceling that trip in order to confront the opposition and rally support at home to his cause — a job that fell for the most part to his wife and partner in interfaith work, Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement.

“But in that environment, I realized that no matter what I did or said, I would be accused of something,” he said. And as it turned out, he added, the reaction of Middle Eastern Muslims to the controversy over Park51 was encouraging to him.

The idea that in the United States there could be a discussion, even an angry one, about building a mosque that some considered to be too close to ground zero — “that was an amazingly positive thing to people I met in the Middle East,” he said.

“The idea that the Jewish mayor of New York would be our most outspoken defender,” he continued, referring to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, “well, I think that really touched people. It was very positive ‘optics’ for the international Muslim audience, as they say in the State Department.”

If Mr. Abdul Rauf ever entertained thoughts of moving the planned center to a less contentious site — as he has admitted in interviews — Mr. Bloomberg’s support for Park51 has since made that unthinkable.

And to do so now would be “a betrayal of this great opportunity,” he added, referring to the discourse about relations between Muslims in the United States and their fellow Americans, which he plans to take on the road from mid-January until the early spring.

 

Murfreesboro: Attorney Vows to Maintain Fight against Mosque

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by loonwatch

(hat tip: Eric Allen Bell)

ISLAMIC CENTER LAWSUIT: Attorney vows to maintain fight against mosque

The attorney representing residents suing Rutherford County over a proposed mosque solicited the public Friday for help — and money — while pledging to continue the court fight.

“The plaintiffs fully intend to continue to gather facts and evidence and proceed to a final hearing,” Murfreesboro lawyer Joe M. Brandon Jr. states in a “response” sent to media. “It is anticipated that the final hearing will occur after the full completion of discovery. This should be some time over the course of the next year.”

Brandon is representing plaintiffs Kevin Fisher, Lisa Moore and Henry Golczynski who filed suit after the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro acquired site plan approval May 24 from the county’s Regional Planning Commission to build a 52,960-square-foot community center with a mosque on Veals Road off Bradyville Pike southeast of Murfreesboro’s city limits.

The lawsuit challenges whether the county provided sufficient notice to the public about the agenda item and also questions whether Islam is a religion and should be afforded land use rights as with other churches.

Chancellor Robert Corlew Jr. concluded after several days of testimony spread over three months this fall that “Islam is in fact a religion” and found no grounds to issue a temporary restraining order to halt the mosque’s construction.

Brandon, though, notes in his letter that at the conclusion of the temporary hearing, the trial court ruled, ” … we are startled to find that the case advocated by the Defendants as the authoritative holding that Islam is a religion was actually a case wherein the Supreme Court held that display of aChristmas tree with an angel proclaiming ‘Glory to God in the highest’ on the stairway of a county courthouse had the effect of endorsing a Christian message.”

The trial court went on to state, “[w]e stress in our holding that there is a distinction between a legal finding that Islam is a religion compared with a religious finding that Islam is a religion. The religious scholars may debate for a lengthy period of time whether Islam meets their definition of a religion.”

Brandon argued repeatedly during the hearing that the Islamic Center poses a threat to the community based on the tenants of Shariah Law, and therefore should not be deemed a religion. It’s a point that Brandon says he will continue to challenge at the full hearing in the case.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, meanwhile, has been charging ahead with its building plans on 15 acres. The congregation hopes to submit more detailed plans to obtain a building permit by March or April, said Saleh Sbenaty, a planning committee member for the Muslim congregation.

“We’re just finishing up the grading,” Sbenaty said during a Friday night phone interview. “The grading is taking more time because of the weather. After the grading is done, we will send the whole package for the building permit.”

Phase I of the building plans will be in the 10,000- to 11,000-square-foot range and include a reception hall that will also serve as a prayer area, an office for the imam (religious leader) and a small meeting room that can also serve as a nursery.

If enough money is available in Phase I, the ICM will also seek to build two outdoor pavilions and a playground between the two, added Sbenaty, an 18-year MTSU professor who teaches courses in electronics and computers for the Engineering Technology Department.

Long-term plans include a formal mosque area for worship, classrooms for weekend religious study, a gym, indoor pool, more offices, a multipurpose sports field, a basketball/tennis court and a private cemetery for ICM members.

Brandon, in addition to vowing to continue efforts to halt the project, implored anyone with information relevant to the case to forward it to his office.

“Additionally, should anyone feel led to make a donation toward attorney’s fees or other mandatory related costs, please give me a call, wherein, these matters can be discussed in depth,” Brandon states.