Archive for Protest

Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks Want to Demolish Muslim Community Building in Colombo

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Is this going to be Dambulla 2.0? (h/t: msmrishan)

Any opportunity that the anti-Muslim blogs get, they attempt to castigate Islam as a whole for the actions of a minority of fundamentalists. Can you imagine them even calling out these Monks actions and tying it to Buddhism?

What if they were Muslim?

Buddhist Monks Want To Demolish A Muslim Community Building In Colombo

by Colombia Telegraph

Buddhist monks took to the streets yesterday again demanding the demolition of yet another Muslim community building in Colombo, claiming it was illegal, Ceylon Today reports. Meanwhile Divaina newspaper claims that the building is a illegal cattlekilling place belong to Islam fundamentalists.

Over 250 protestors led by Buddhist monks staged a demonstration yesterday in front of Galvihara Road, Dehiwala, calling for the demolition of the Madarasa ‘Darul- Qur’an lil Baranil Iman. The protestors charged it is an illegal construction and a place where goats are scarified.

One of the monks leading the protest claimed the Madarasa should be demolished as the Muslims had constructed it illegally; a claim many Muslims in the area are disputing.

In response to this a member of the trustee board, Hizni Mohamed said the Madarasa named has been situated here for over 13 years. “It is a place mainly to teach and educate the children on religion and the Qur’an,” he said.

He said the monks’ claim that the Muslims were rearing goats and sacrificing them within the premises of the Madarasa, but nothing of that sort happened. “It is not an illegal construction. We have accurate deeds and the building has been there for so many years,” he said.

According to the Western Province UNP PC member Mujibur Rahman, this Madarasa has been frequented by the Muslims for 13 years and this problem of demolishing has begun all of a sudden. “Nothing illegal or unlawful is happening,” he confirmed.

When Ceylon Today contacted the Mayor of Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Municipal Council Dhanasiri Amaratunge said that a group of monks had complained to him regarding an illegal construction.

“I sent a team to inspect the area and we have found that the Madarasa is an illegal construction and we have summoned them to court on Monday. Even before the legal aspect could be done the villagers and the monks have begun a protest,” he said.

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

Thousands Protest Robert Spencer in Germany: “It was like looking into the pit of hell”

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2011 by loonwatch
Robert Spencer

Catholic anti-Muslim polemicist and hate blogger Robert Spencer was in Germany once again at the invitation of the Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE). We exposed the supremacist and fascist nature of the BPE in a previous article, Robert Spencer Teams up with Euro-Supremacists Once Again:

Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa

Looking at the BPE site reveals that it is just another organization using the title and badge of human rights to add an air of legitimacy to the real intent behind their work: demonization and marginalization of Europe’s Muslims.

Thanks to one of our German readers, Morakot, we were able to see for ourselves the true nature of this group that Spencer attempts to trump up. It is a group whose aims are undifferentiated from those of neo-Fascists like Geert Wilders and the BNP.

In “Der Verein” (The Association) section of their website they claim that they are not “anti-Muslim” but the facts speak otherwise. Similar in substance to neo-Fascists and Euro supremacist groups, they take up the mantle of proclaiming themselves to be the vanguard and champions of “European Culture.” They define this as being “exclusively committed to the preservation of the Christian-Jewish tradition of their European culture” and opposed to the so called “creeping Islamization” of Europe, which is nothing less than the perpetuation of the debunked Eurabiaand Muslim Demographics conspiracy theories.

Their solutions to the so called problem of “creeping Islamization” are elucidated in a document they released titled De-Islamization program which states amongst its main points,

– Organizations of islam critics as well as of people who left islam shall be funded by the state and have an adaquate say in the media.

Lets think about this for a second. They want the state to reward critics of Islam (who defines “critics of Islam?” Would anti-Muslim Geert Wilders of “tax-the-hijab-fame” be considered an acceptable “critic?”) and people who leave Islam with funding, essentially lobbying the government to take an official position in opposition to Islam. Does this not cross the boundary of separation of Church and State, and the fundamental tenets of secularism? It seems the “Christian-Jewish values” that this organization wants to protect bears more of a resemblance to a theocratic “Holy Roman Empire” rather than a pluralistic Democracy.

-All islamic organizations following a political instead of a religious agenda and/or on behalf of a foreign governement shall be disbanded.

Who will decide if an “Islamic organization is following a political agenda?” This is really a concealed attempt to disband all Muslim organizations. Everything the BPE represents indicates that they agree with a Geert Wilder-esque concept that  ’Islam is not a 1500 year old religion at all but rather a political movement,’ so no matter what you do as an organization you will be labeled a political organization.

It also highlights the double standards they advocate: on the one hand you have the Christian Democrats (CDU) led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is “Christian-based, applying the principles of Christian Democracy and emphasizes the ‘Christian understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God.’” CDU is a political party which heads the German government, imagine the firestorm that would be created if Muslims even attempted to create a party which “emphasizes the ‘Muslim understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God.”

-Persons supporting djihad or installment of sharia in Germany shall undergo a de-islamization training or must suffer severe sanctions.

Who would define what “supporting djihad” or installing “sharia” consists of and what would be the scope of these definitions? As we well know Robert Spencer and the advocates of the conspiracy theory of Eurabia believe that many law abiding Muslims, by the very fact of their increasing presence and visibility in the West, are pushing a “stealth djihad.” For example there are people in Europe who think  wearing a headscarf, or installation of footbaths is an act of “djihad,” would such acts entail implementation of the “severe sanctions” being proposed, and of what would these “severe sanctions” consist?

– Quran-schools are to be forbidden.

They should just go a step further with their fascistic ideas and follow their brethren in Europe who have called for the Quran to be banned. If in some fairyland-Democracy-minus-religious-freedom envisioned by these jokers this is okay, then why are: Bible schools, Torah schools,  Bhagavad Gita schools not similarly forbidden?

– Islamic head cloths are to be banned in kindergardens, schools, campusses, workplaces, public buildings and events.

This was another predictable point, the obsession with hijab for Islamophobes is unending. Not only have laws been proposed such as the above (and passed in places like France) infringing on a woman’s right to wear what they want and follow their conscious, not only have proposals been made to tax it, but it also has led to violence such as murder and assault.

– Parents who submit their children to forced marriage or deny them proper education have to be deprived of child custody.

Everyone can agree that forced marriages are terrible and have to be fought, and many Muslims are leading the fight against the practice. It is curious though that this issue is being painted as springing from Islam, which condemns the practice. It is also a phenomenon that is not peculiar to Muslims but rather affects women and men from Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Gypsy backgrounds and cultures.

As far as the vague idea of “deny them proper education,” what does that mean? Knowing what we know from the above proposals, would a family that taught their children the Quran be considered as “denying a proper education?” Would they then advocate the child be ripped from their family for studying the Quran?

– Mosques are to be built only with approval of the neighbourhood. Minarettes and the call of the muezzin are to be forbidden. Sermons are to be held solely in German.

It is usually a good policy to have the involvement of a neighborhood when any religious structure is built, as it will become a major landmark bringing in more traffic and people into the area. It goes without saying that religious groups should prioritize good relations with their neighbors, something all religions believe in because they all teach the golden rule.

However, the wording in this proposal is very confrontational and seeks to legislatively limit the construction of the traditional mosque with minarets; it is an attempt to make the Muslim presence in essence invisible. What is the difference between such proposals and what goes on in some of the theocratic Muslim nations that Islamophobes regularly complain about when facts seem to indicate that they are two peas in the same pod?

This time Spencer and his friends in the BPE were in Stuttgart, Germany where we are told by Spencer they held a “well advertised” event that was to have “Middle Eastern Christian musicians,” and other anti-Muslim “activists,” all gathering together to “fight the jihad.”

So what happened? Did thousands of newly “enlightened” and “awakened” Europeans show up to signal their solidarity with the BPE and Spencer and “fight” Islam and Muslims in the guise of a new front against the phantom threat of “jihad?”

No. In stark contrast to the much propagated idea pushed by xenophobic Islamophobes that “the West is waking up to the ‘threat’ of Islam,” it seems more people are waking up to the threat posed by anti-Freedom activists and Euro-supremacists such as the BPE and Spencer.

Thousands of anti-fascist protesters showed up at the event and stood down the hatred that was being promoted on Spencer’s side.

Spencer was clearly shaken up as his side only attracted a few dozen aging fans. He likened his experience to “looking into the pit of hell.”

For this, Germany has received Spencer’s diagnosis of being a country on the “brink.” The brink of what you may ask? Well, full blown radical-Islamization-jihad-creeping-sharia-evil-darkness-take-over of course.

Spencer spells this out in an interesting lecture he gives a few days after the failed BPE event in Stuttgart. The lecture is about “Islamization” and how he now doesn’t believe “Muhammed” actually existed (a regurgitation of age old Orientalist arguments such as those of Klimovich):

Robert Spencer: The process of Islamization is of course very advanced. And we are now entering into a different stage of it, and we saw this two days ago. In the Quran there are three stages of development, as many of you no doubt know, in the doctrine of Jihad. And the first is when Muhammad first became a prophet and preached in Mecca that he was the new prophet of the One true God. Most people paid no attention, he got a small band of followers together. The Quraish, they were the pagan Arabs of Mecca and the Quraish leaders did not like what he was saying at all because it challenged them, they had the Kaba, it was there at that time too before Islam and it was full of idols, 360 pagan idols, and the Arabs from all over Arabia would go there to venerate their gods. So the Quraish had a shrine, you know if you’ve ever been to Rome or Jerusalem or Fatima or Lords you know its a big tourist trap and so was Mecca and the Ka’ba, and so they didn’t like this…but in any case at that time he taught tolerance and peace and whenever you see the Imams on TV talking about tolerance and peace they are quoting from a time when Muhammad was weak and his enemies were strong and he had no military or political power. So he was not preaching tolerance and peace for non-Muslims, he was preaching tolerance and peace for them, he was asking to be tolerated.

Man from the crowd: same as what happens now…

Robert SpencerPrecisely, that’s the stage we are in now in Europe and America…So in other words when there is a small group of Muslims without military or political power then they preach tolerance and peace, just like Muhammad did when he was a small group in Mecca, when they gain more political and military power then they get more aggressive. I believe now we are moving from the first stage to the second stage in Europe and in America to a lesser degree. And ultimately of necessity there will come the third stage as well and this will be open warfare. Its a very sad situation but if we stand it down now then the game is already over. (emphasis added)

In the bolded portion above Spencer makes no distinction between Islam and Muslims, nor does he speak about “radical Islam” or “radical Muslims.” He speaks clearly, dropping all caveats and says Muslims are the problem and can’t be trusted, “when there is a small group of Muslims without military or political power then they preach tolerance and peace…when they gain more political and military power then they get more aggressive.”

Spencer tells us that “it isn’t too late for Europe.” Islam and Muslims can still be stopped with the help of anti-Muslims like the BPE, René Stadtkewitz and his new Freedom Party, etc.

Hollow words from a shallow man on the losing side of history.

Ahmed Rehab: Passion and Peril at a Pro-Christian Rally

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2010 by loonwatch

Muslims in Chicago joined their Christian brethren in condemning and opposing the slaughter of Christians in Iraq. (hat tip: Robert Spencer)

Beyond the Comfort Zone: Passion and Peril at a Pro-Christian Rally

(ahmedrehab.com/blog)

by Ahmed Rehab

Yesterday, CAIR-Chicago staff and interns participated in a rally alongside the Assyrian community of Chicago to condemn violence against Iraqi Christians. The rally was organized in response to the massacre of dozens of Assyrian Christians in Baghdad on October 31st.

It was a tricky decision for us. We knew that there could be anti-Muslim sentiment at the rally that would put is in a precarious position, but we decided that our disdain for the heinous acts of Al Qaeda far exceeded our concern for personal inconvenience.

We decided that the right thing for us to do was to act on our values and our sincere feelings of camaraderie with our fellow human beings in times of anguish. We wanted to raise our voices as Muslims in support of the Assyrian community and against terrorists who purport to act in the name of our faith.

Al Qaeda does not have reverence for any innocent life, including those of Muslims. It is a fact that they have bombed many more Mosques in Iraq than churches.
While we were weary of the possibility that some people at the rally could lash out at us, Muslims-at-large who condemn terrorism, we were not interested in seeing ourselves as victims. The only victims we were prepared to recognize were the 52 innocent souls that were claimed by the recent church bombing, and the many others – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and otherwise – claimed by terrorism.

And so we set out with signs including “An Attack on Your Church is an Attack on my Mosque,” “American Muslims, Iraqi Christians, One Blood,” “My Brother is an Assyrian,” “We Stand with Iraqi Christians,” and “Muslims for Peace.”

We held our signs up high and marched in solidarity with the predominantly Assyrian Christian crowd.

The reaction we got was mixed.

In an interesting scene that summed up my experience, I was asked by one man if I was a Muslim. I said “Yes, I am.” He then asked, “Am I impure?”

I joked, “I don’t know did you shower this morning?”

He dismissed the joke and asked me if I thought “his blood was impure.” I told him, “why would you expect that, you’ve never met me, I am here supporting you, what about me leads you to ask me such a question?” He told me, “You said you are a Muslim.” I told him, “so what?” He said that Muslims believe this sort of thing. I told him that he had been grossly misinformed, “you’re blood like all innocent blood is holy to me.”

Another man interjected and started yelling that I was “unwanted” there, motioning with his arms for me to leave. As he continued to yell at me, my attention was drawn to something that touched me. A young woman a few yards away leaned down on a stroller she was pushing and started to sob uncontrollably.

At first, I thought it had nothing to do with us but my intuition told me otherwise. I asked here, “what’s wrong, why are you crying?”

She said unable to hold back her tears, “I am so sorry you and your friends have to deal with idiots like that, this man does not represent us, I am so embarrassed. This is so wrong.”

Here I was standing before a stark display of contrasts, extreme animosity on one end and extreme compassion on the other.

In a single powerful moment, I was reminded yet again at the absurdity of those who generalize about any one group of people. Here were two people of the same religion, color, and ethnic background standing side by side rallying for the same cause — and yet they could not be any more different.

I hugged her and tried to comfort her, “Trust me, I know, we have our share of idiots too, everyone has them, most people here have been kind.”

And it was true. Many in the crowd were genuinely happy – almost relieved – to see Muslims standing with them at this rally. Some smiled, some nodded, others simply said “thank you!” It reinforced my feeling that our participation was extremely important.

While there were other incidents – one lady held a cross up to my face and told me I was a “bad Muslim” for condemning terrorism which is “in my Quran”, two people told us that we are going to hell for not accepting Jesus as our Saviour, some guy yelled profanities and was held back by a girl half his size, another called for reciprocal violence – in every single instance, someone else would take a strong stance, telling the others to back off and apologizing.

As we made our way back to the office, we were chased by two girls. “Can I ask you a question?” one of them said. “Can I just give each of you guys a hug?”

We met back in the office for an evaluation.

I learned that my colleagues’ experience mostly mirrored mine.

Despite the bigotry of some, we all felt strong solidarity with most people. We felt as if the Assyrian community, with its good and bad, was our own.

It is of no surprise to any of us that there are some negative feelings among some Arab and Assyrian Christian communities regarding Islam and Muslims. Part of it is understandable to us, given the ugly acts by saboteurs claiming to act in the name of Islam. Part of it is due to the opportunistic work of preachers like father Zakaria Boutros who make a living out of telling Arabic-speaking Christians that Islam is an evil religion. Part of it still is due to the lack of dialogue and engagement between our faith communities, and that was the part we resolved to try to change.

Assyrians have a long and proud history that goes back to one of the earliest civilizations in the world. They live as a religious minority in their indigenous homeland. For centuries, they have coexisted peacefully with their Muslim neighbors. But at other times, especially now, the instability and violence is leaving them feeling frightened for their loved ones and overall vulnerable. Some of them blame Al Qaeda, others demonize all Muslims, and others still blame the United States and its wars.

One thing we must never allow is for the bad amongst us – terrorists, extremists, ideologues of exclusion and hate – to succeed in turning the rest of us against each other. We must condemn them, ostracize them, and disempower them. The way to do that is to strengthen our relations, and stand with one another. That is the only way to spell defeat for the agents of hate.

We must emerge from our comfort zones and stand together as one against all forms of violence, ignorance, and intolerance.

When Christians are attacked, they should NOT have to rally alone. We must rally along with them. When Jews are attacked, they should NOT have to rally alone. When Muslims are attacked, we should NOT have to rally alone.

 

Spencer and Geller still Yapping about their “Historic” Rally

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2010 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer and his goonish friend Pamela Geller, leaders of the hate group SIOA and FDI are claiming that the size of their rally on September 11th, which they billed as the biggest thing ever was huge.

The fact is that it was really not that big, let alone historic. It was definitely not in the 40,000 or more range as Geller and Spencer claim. In fact according to the AP it wasn’t larger than a thousand.

Charles Johnson sums it up well:

Anti-Mosque Rally Attendance: Less Than 1,000

According to the Associated Press, attendance at Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s international hate rally was less than 1,000: The Associated Press: Dueling demonstrations begin after 9/11 memorial.

After the ceremony, around 1,000 activists rallied about five blocks from the site of the 2001 attacks to support the proposed Islamic community center. A smaller group of opponents rallied nearby, chanting, “USA, USA.”

UPDATE at 9/11/10 6:27:36 pm:

Hilarious! Geller is claiming 40,000. Who could ever have predicted that?

UPDATE at 9/11/10 6:41:30 pm:

Pamela Geller’s closing words to the seething throng:

As the crowds dissipated, Geller warned them against talking to members of the media: “Do not give them any ammunition. You know who you are. You know that you’re righteous. Do not give them an opportunity to deride this fine and honorable effort. Remember what I’m saying. They’re looking to catch you. Don’t give it to them.”

Listen to Mommy,” she said.

Of course Spencer and company claim that it is a big old conspiracy against those who want to expose Islam, and that the numbers are under reported. Fact is that it isn’t under reported, it is just the their hate rally was “historically” underwhelming.

 

F**K the Muslims! Says Protester at SIOA Rally

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by loonwatch

One of our very own Loonwatcher’s was at the rally held by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America on 9/11/10.

Islamophobia? What Islamophobia?

Here is Part II, where they try to run the “Mooslim” out of the rally:

This is nothing new or surprising, any rally or protest organized by the hate group SIOA is bound to attract the most insane and crazy right wingers and Conservatives out there.

 

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.”