Archive for MAS

Brooklyn Mosque Rally Turns Ugly

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2010 by loonwatch

Brooklyn Tea Partiers?

BROOKLYN MOSQUE RALLY TURNS UGLY

by Vegas Tenold

It was supposed to be a rally about parking. Somehow it turned into praise for Qu’ran burning, declarations of war and enough vitriol to warrant almost 20 police officers.

Almost before it began, it became clear that the crowds lining Voorhies Avenue for last Sunday’s rally against a proposed mosque had different concerns than the local residents.

Earlier this year, the Muslim American Society bought a lot on a residential part of Voorhies Avenue announcing that they wanted to build a community center with an after-school program and prayer rooms.

Neighbors oppose the plan, saying that the area is residential and that the street can’t handle the additional cars that the community center will bring. They also fear that the mosque will bring down the value of their homes.

On Sunday, houses on Voorhies Avenue were plastered with signs reading “Religion is not an excuse for zoning violation” and “If it doesn’t fit then don’t build”. Bay People, a group of residents, had arranged the rally. Their arguments, however, quickly drowned out.

At noon, at least 100 people crowded the sidewalk, with more people arriving. Many were holding American flags. Others had draped themselves with them. Signs reading “NO M.A.S.” referring to the Muslim American Society, were ubiquitous. Several signs linked the M.A.S. to Hezbollah and Hamas, and a large banner announced the presence of the Brooklyn Tea Party. Across the street were the supporters of the community center, holding signs that said “We Say No To Racist Fear” and “Muslims Are Welcome Here”.

Few of Sunday’s speeches mentioned the concerns heard earlier about parking and home values. John Kenneth Press of the Brooklyn Tea Party said in his speech that “Islam has been fighting the West for 1400 years. Do they believe in freedom in the Middle East?”

People shouted “Hell No!”

“Do we believe in it here?” asked Press

“Yes!” screamed his supporters.

After Press had left the podium a woman who identified herself as a realtor, claimed to oppose the mosque because the M.A.S. had overpaid for the site. “Let me get you a better deal!” she pleaded with the demonstrators across the street.

A young man pointed at the mosque supporters across the street. “Unlike these terrorists, I stand in front of you unmasked! This is a war! And we’re all soldiers!” He then praised the burning of the Qu’ran calling it a miracle of free speech and asked the crowd if “we need to see Brooklyn and America raped by people who aren’t from this country?”

The next speaker gave his speech in Russian.

The mood became increasingly vitriolic. A woman with a sign saying “NO MOSQUE 1 GOD” screamed at two Muslim girls with American flags. “Let go of the flag and get back to your own country!” Shouts of “Racist!” from the other side became louder. More police arrived.

Steven Peskin, who lives nearby, stood with the people supporting the mosque. “I don’t think the mosque should be built.” he said. “This is a residential area, and I think it will be too crowded. But I don’t agree with those people. It’s not about Islam and the West. It’s about parking. Why are these people here?”

The rally ended with the loud speakers repeatedly playing an audio clip from 2000, where Muslim American Society’s Mahdi Bray appears to be supporting Hamas and Hezbollah.

Ibrahim Anse, the community center’s project manager, was not surprised by what happened on Sunday. “It’s all politics, and they’re using these people for a public show.” He said that many of the protesters are outsiders brought in by the Brooklyn Tea Party. “The Tea Party are using the people on Voorhies Avenue.”

John Press said that the concerns of the Brooklyn Tea Party are the same as those of the residents on Voorhies Avenue. “We are all worried about people teaching hatred in our communities.”

Press says that the Muslim American Society are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian organization that supports Hamas and Hezbollah. The FBI have found no such links, but Press says that he has his own evidence.

“It does not make us safer to have the vanguard of Muslim conquest in our communities,” he said. “There is a clear and concerted effort to increase the Muslim population in America. These people don’t like us.” He does acknowledge that it is unlikely that the people who demonstrated against him on Sunday, most of whom were women and children, are actual terrorists. “Most Muslims are law abiding citizens. They don’t have the energy to do violent jihad, just like most Christians don’t have the energy to live like Jesus.”

 

‘What Kind of America?’ Hate Filled Rally to Stop Mosque

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by loonwatch

The Sheepshead Bay Mosque is the center of a lot of controversy and the scene of some terrible anti-Muslim demagoguery. If you remember Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have put their weight behind residents who oppose the mosque, is it a coincidence then that the rallies against the mosque are so hate filled?

It is quite revealing, as one resident, a self-proclaimed ex-Israeli soldier has threatened to blow the mosque up and kill Muslims.

Read the excellent expose.

‘What kind of America’? Hate-filled rally to stop mosque

By Thomas Tracy
The Brooklyn Paper

Opponents of a proposed mosque on Voorhies Avenue rallied on Sunday, with some specifically saying that the house of worship would bring terrorists to Sheepshead Bay.

If they build it, they will bomb.

Angry Sheepshead Bay residents came out in a show of force on Sunday to protest a planned mosque and Muslim community center in their neighborhood.

“If they build a mosque there, I’m going to bomb the mosque,” said one outraged resident who lives across the street from the proposed house of worship between East 28th and East 29th streets on Voorhies Avenue. The resident, who refused to give his name, identified himself as a former Israeli soldier who had lived on Voorhies Avenue for eight years.

“I will give them a lot of trouble,” he added. “They’re not going to stay here alive.”

Such comments were certainly the most violent, though intolerance was common at the rally, which was organized by the group Bay People. Political correctness was shoved aside as members of the group put out its agenda: We don’t want a mosque here.

There was plenty of lip service paid to concerns about added traffic and noise, with rally organizers saying that they were not “anti-Arab or anti-Muslim,” but the stench of hate filled the air, sometimes with subtle language.

“We cannot tolerate foreign interests coming into our backyard telling us what we are going to do,” said speaker Bob Giovinazzi. “It’s hot today, but things are going to get a lot hotter for people in this illegal structure.”

One of the organizers claimed that the mosque protest was simply about “this specific location and a specific organization [and its] impact on our quality of life.” The organizer, who only gave his surname, Kleinman, added, “We are not against our Muslim neighbors. This is a residential community and we want to preserve it regardless of race and religion.”

But other organizers claimed that the mosque’s builders, the Muslim American Society, has ties to Hamas and Hezbollah. Though few actual links were revealed at the rally, that didn’t stop the venom.

“New York is not Islamabad,” screamed one protestor. Diana, a nurse who refused to give her full name, told those in attendence, “Do not forget 9-11!”

Voorhies Avenue resident Victor Benari further whipped up the audience by adding, “Each Muslim terrorist is tied to a mosque.”

He also took pot shots at Ahmed Allowey, the longtime Sheepshead Bay resident who is bringing the mosque to Voorhies Avenue, along with local politicians who have remained mum on this divisive issue.

None were present to defend themselves, although Benari’s diatribe infuriated local resident Guseyn Ibragimov.

“What right do you have to deny people a place of worship?” asked Ibragimov, whose father is a Muslim. His mother is half-Jewish, half-Christian. “No one protests a church or a synagogue being built in a Muslim neighborhood.”

Rally attendees booed Ibragimov down, ordering him to get off their street.

“This isn’t right, they’re just showing their hate,” Ibragimov said as he stormed off. “They call themselves Americans, but what kind of America is this?”

©2010 Community Newspaper Group

 

Another Sunday, Another Protest Against the Mosque

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2010 by loonwatch

The hysteria of the anti-Mosque crowd continues in Staten Island.

Another Sunday, another protest against proposed Staten Island mosque

by Virgina N. Sherry

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. –  Midland Beach residents opposed to the sale of the empty convent of St. Margaret Mary parish to a Muslim group rallied yesterday afternoon for the second straight Sunday in front of the 2½ -story building, and this time other Staten Islanders joined them, carrying their own protest signs.

“I’m here to support this community because of how frightened everyone is of this group coming in to the neighborhood — the terrorism factor is a big part of it,” said Suzanne Adamo of Castleton Corners, who was born and raised in Midland Beach. She was referring to the Muslim American Society, a national organization whose Brooklyn/Staten Island chapter signed a contract last month with Rev. Keith Fennessy, the parish pastor, to purchase the convent.

“To me, they’re too closed,” added her husband Sal Adamo. “We don’t know them. It’s up to them to show us what and who they are. It’s very frightening.”

One sign on bright yellow cardboard read in black capital letters: “Muslim Brotherhood You Are Not Welcome Here.”

A major issue that has energized opponents of the convent-to-mosque conversion is the alleged links of MAS founders to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and the belief of many neighborhood residents that the Muslim Brotherhood is itself a terrorist organization.

The U.S. State Department maintains a publicly available list of foreign terrorist organizations. The most current list, dated January 2010, includes the names of 45 groups from around the globe. The Muslim Brotherhood is not on the list.

‘NO FOREIGN TIES’

“Everyone in this country has safety concerns, and I think that’s fair and valid, especially in the wake of September 11,” MAS local spokeswoman Lana Safah said in a phone interview on last night.

“We want to reiterate that we have no ties or affiliations to any foreign entities whatsoever,” she added. “And we have maintained the same position from the beginning — we are willing to speak to whoever wishes to speak to us.”

“I’m very against the way this sale went through — it was deceitful and sinful,” said Carolyn Pinto of New Dorp, who attended St. Margaret Mary elementary school. “This is a Christian community. The people here are the church. Archbishop [Timothy] Dolan has hurt the Catholics of Midland Beach, and it cuts like a knife.”

Anthony Sagona, also New Dorp, saw no nuance. “We don’t want the mosque. This is a nice neighborhood and we hope to keep it that way,” he said, adding that he was born in Midland Beach and lived there for 50 years. “I hope the deal falls through.”

Native Islander Christine Marra of Grant City said she was “opposed to the sale of the convent to a non-Christian organization,” and held a hand-written sign that read “Tell the Archdiocese No Mosque. Boycott the Basket.”

“I feel betrayed by the New York Archdiocese,” she commented. “I’ve been donating money my entire adult life with the intention of spreading the Gospel and the Christian message.”

TENSION OVER A BANNER

Some division in the anti-mosque crowd became apparent when a long banner was unfurled, emblazoned with color photographs and the words “We Will Never Forget!” It referenced the killing of Coptic Christians in Egypt, where they remain a beleaguered minority without full civil rights, including freedom of worship and the right to freely build churches.

The U.S. State Department, in its 2009 “Report on International Religious Freedom,” said that Egypt’s constitution “provides for freedom of belief and the practice of religious rites,” but added that “the Government restricts these rights in practice. Islam is the official state religion, and Shari’a is the principal source of legislation.”

One of the people holding up the banner was Magdi Saweres, a Cairo-born Copt who has lived in Midland Beach for the last eight years.

“You see..they [Islamic extremists] killed these kids in Egypt,” he explained to someone reading the large banner.

“That’s not our issue! They should not be here!” said Rosemary Vasquenz, an officer of the Midland Beach Civic Association, who then walked away in disgust.

“We’re not in Egypt — we’re in the U.S.” another resident chimed in.

“They’re on our side, believe me,” intervened Thomas Bosco of Grasmere, who was helping to hold up the large banner.

Unlike the first rally last Sunday, yesterday’s included a uniformed police presence, and officers restricted protestors to the sidewalk after many spilled out onto Greeley Avenue, raising signs and cheering when drivers of passing vehicles slowed down and honked horns in support.

The rally, with about 175 people at its height, was periodically interrupted by a lone counter-demonstrator standing across the street from the convent. His shouts were ignored by the vociferous yet peaceful crowd.

It concluded at 1:30 p.m., with the crowd chanting “USA! USA!” as they dispersed.

MAS REACTION

The Advance received this written statement from MAS in reaction to yesterday’s rally:

“We as Americans understand and fully appreciate the need to feel safe, and the right and necessity to look into the background of any party or group.

“However, it is equally as important for individuals to do their homework, not just rely on the research and propaganda of other parties.

“We have and continue to make ourselves available for any sit downs or questions, be it with the Church board, Community Leaders or individuals in the community. We are committed to communication and dialog, and are willing at any time to address any valid community concerns.”

Archbishop Dolan said it best on his blog: “Yes, it is acceptable to ask questions about security, safety, the background and history of the groups hoping to build and buy… What is not acceptable is to prejudge any group, or to let fear and bias trump the towering American virtues of hospitality, welcome, and religious freedom.”

 

Peace Marchers Get Heckled by Locals

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2010 by loonwatch
Residents watch in anger the peace marchers

The proposed mosque in Sheepshead Bay has been attacked from many sides and we have been covering it from the beginning. The scene is getting quite ugly.

Peace march for new mosque gets ugly

by Stephen Witt

A peace march in support of a controversial proposed mosque in Sheepshead Bay turned ugly last Thursday after residents jeered marchers, most of whom were from outside the area.

“This is a Jewish neighborhood — build a mosque in your own neighborhood,” yelled Stan Yunatanov, who lives across the street from the proposed house of worship and cultural center planned for Voorhies Avenue between East 28th and East 29th streets.

Another woman, who refused to give her name, yelled, “[Muslims] don’t love America. They hate America.”

There were no arrests, but tension — which was already high ever since the Muslim American Society purchased the property earlier this year — was definitely of Biblical proportions during the “Children of Abraham Interfaith Peace Walk,” the seventh annual march for the Park Slope-based group.

The peace group originally planned to have its march in Coney Island, but decided to have it in Sheepshead Bay to support the embattled mosque project.

“It’s a show of support for the right of all faiths to worship,” said Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, one of the event organizers and the head of Kolot Chayeinu, a Jewish congregation that holds its services in a Park Slope church.

Read the rest

 

Opposition to a New Mosque, Without the Ground Zero Excuse This Time

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from NYMag)

The uproar over a proposed mosque near ground zero is predicated around the idea that this specific site was inappropriate for a mosque because of its proximity to the place where Islamic terrorists killed thousands of Americans. The logic is still, not even very subtly, anti-Muslim — it only makes sense if you believe that Muslim-American worshipers are sympathetic to Muslim terrorists. Now a community on Staten Island is opposing another proposed mosque, and without the pretense that it’s motivated by anything but outright hostility toward Muslims.

On Wednesday night, a meeting was held by the Midland Beach Civic Association to bring together representatives of the Muslim American Society — who want to turn an empty convent there into a mosque — and the locals who want nothing to do with them. It wasn’t exactly a “civic” dialogue. The men were asked whether they realized that “every terrorist, past and present, has come out of a mosque,” and their organization was falsely accused of being on the FBI’s terrorist watch list. Their answers were drowned out by “catcalls and boos.” At one point a veteran of the war in Afghanistantried to broker the peace.

Mr. Finnegan said he was a Marine lance corporal, home from Afghanistan, where he had worked as a mediator with warring tribes.

After the sustained standing ovation that followed his introduction, he turned to the Muslims on the panel: “My question to you is, will you work to form a cohesive bond with the people of this community?” The men said yes.

Then he turned to the crowd. “And will you work to form a cohesive bond with these people — your new neighbors?”

The crowd erupted in boos. “No!” someone shouted.

Sad.

Heated Opposition to a Proposed Mosque [NYT]

 

A Christian Stealth Jihad in the United States?

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by loonwatch
Christian Stealth Jihad?Christian Stealth Jihad?

A favorite theme of the right-wing nutjob community in the US is to fantasize about the threat of an Islaimc Shariah takeover of the United States.

They accuse every effective Muslim leader and every successful Muslim organization in one way or another of scheming to institute Islamic law (Shariah) as the official law of our government.

The pictures they paint in their books, radio shows, and blogs range from Muslims conspiring for a hostile takeover (through violent Jihad) to Muslims conspiring for a peaceful takeover of the United States (through perfectly legal means).  The latter is what the sages of the nutjob community – yes I am aware that’s an oxymoron – are terming stealth Jihad.

Stealth Jihad of course is the take over from within, the slow and gradual but forced transformation of American government from our current constitution to Shariah (Islamic law), a process to be achieved through the system, in the light of day, in a perfectly legal and peaceful manner.

There are many problems with this old wife’s tale of which the following are a few:

  • – Muslims constitute less than 3 million people according to the Pew Research Center, that’s less than 1% of the United States. So whatever effort they are going to invest in, it had better subdue more than 99% of the American people, that’s 297 million free, discerning, intelligent people.
  • – If Muslims indeed are working on a peaceful takeover of the country, what does that assume about the 3 million, that they have superhuman ability to influence and brainwash everyone else? And what does it assume about the 297 million others, that they are hapless, helpless, gullible morons that can easily be brainwashed?
  • – There is in fact not a single Muslim organization of note that has as its mission “the Islamization of our legal system” or anything even close to suggesting replacing the US constitution with the Shariah. Not ISNA, not CAIR, not MPAC, not MAS, not MSA. The claim originates from lifelong detractors of American Muslim organizations and leaders and their efforts to enfranchise their minority communities, never from the mission statements of Muslims themselves. (I challenge any of those detractors to point LoonWatch to any of the mission statements of the above organizations that would prove us wrong.)

So far so good.

Well so what about working to replace our secular constitution that separates between Church and State with some religious canonical rules and regulations that does not? Are there any organizations out there that in fact claim such a thing as their mission?

The answer is yes.

One such organization is a radical group by the name of Reclaim Oklahoma For Christ(reclaimoklahoma.org). Here is the mission statement from their website:

To educate our pastors, legislators, educators, students and all citizens as to the truth about America’s Christian Heritage and the role of fundamental, Biblical Christianity in the establishment and function of our legal, legislative and educational systems; and to work towards the successful reestablishment of these values in our society today.

Hmm, America’s Christian Heritage? So America only has one heritage? There are no Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, Buddhist Americans, Atheist Americans, etc? We are all one big homogeneous group with a single religious heritage determined for us by this group. If you are anything but Christian, tough luck for you, drop your heritage and get in line to assume THE American heritage as this group sees it.

More importantly, notice the explicit language involved in the phrase: the role of fundamental, Biblical Christianity in the establishment and function of our legal, legislative systems.

So basically, the goal of this group is not just see the US government, schools, universities and society at large dominated with their religion and it’s holy book, the Bible, but with a “fundamental” interpretation thereof.

So, here’s a pop quiz, what does one call working to subject America – its “legal, legislative, and educational systems”, as well as “all citizens” to the “fundamental” teachings of someone’s religious holy book, its values, rules, etc? Oh yes, “working to dominate America with Sharia via a stealth Jihad!”

That’s right folks, there is an ongoing stealth Christian Jihad out there for Christian Shariah to dominate US government and society.

Mind you, unlike with the Muslims, it’s not a mother population of 3 million mostly struggling immigrants we are talking about here, but a mother population of 70 million linguistically native, religiously fervent, politically savvy mainstream looking citizens. Talk about stealth.

And guess what? The “reclaiming America for Jesus” bible-thumping bunch ARE in fact in full “infiltration” (to use a favorite Spencer term) of our government, our educational system, and society at large. It’s a population that does not just have 2 members in congress like with the Muslims, but dozens in congress and the senate, not to mention the sprawling mega-churches, the business tycoons, media conglomerates, universities, and well-funded lobby groups. Their tangible effect can be seen from changing tax-payer funded school curricula and student history books in Texas to affecting our federal laws on abortion, to influencing our foreign policy (including the push for misguided wars in the Middle East some of which have occurred like Iraq and others for which they are still pushing).

Hutaare (Christian Warriors) Militia Hutaare (Christian Warriors) Militia

And guess what, it turns out it’s not all stealth. There are pockets of this population that is willing to go the violent terrorist route to reclaim America for Jesus!

Where is the excitable hairball known as Robert Spencer? Why the silence, Bob? This is totally up your ally if indeed your beef is with “stealth jihad” and “religious shariah” taking over the US, and not necessarily Muslims per se as you often claim? Do you see why people think you are a blabbering hypocrite?

And where are the screeching wails of your foul-mouthed sidekick, Pamela Geller? Cat got your tongue Pam?

Where is Brigitte Gabriel, and Nonie Darwish and Wafa Sultan and the other sweaty cheerleaders of the big cry against the imminent “Islamic takeover”? No good book deals here for you ladies? No speaking tours opening up where you get cash bags and back pats from your ringmasters?

Where are the monitoring websites, and the blog craze, and the concerned members of congress, and the warnings of the expert talking heads, and the tell-all books? No money in this business? Thank God for the Muslims!