Posts Tagged “mosque”

Gustave Doré, Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople, via Wikimedia CommonsToday I offer not just one, but two blog posts on the theme of what I’ve referred to as the Neocrusade; i.e. the American Religious Right’s effort to outlaw Islam in the US (and sometimes destroy it everywhere else).

I’ve blogged before about Christofascists declaring that the First Amendment’s freedom of religion doesn’t extend to Muslims. Usually the reason cited is because Islam — supposedly — isn’t really a “religion” per se, but rather, it’s a political philosophy. Therefore, the reasoning goes, it can Constitutionally be outlawed. Or something like that.

Of course, I’m not sure how that works, because as far as I know, the US also has things like freedom of speech and freedom of association, which together would make it impossible for government to outlaw any given political philosophy. Maybe that’s just because I’m a cold-hearted, cynical, godless agnostic heathen and such important sacred notions are beyond my feeble, god-deprived mind.

But I digress.

Despite this, it’s rare for Religious Rightists to just come right out and say this. They tend to keep this notion close to their vests. Even so, once in a while one of them lets it slip. It turns out that, as Right Wing Watch reports, Tony Perkins did precisely this recently (WebCite cached article):

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who now styles himself as an Islamic scholar, said on his “Washington Watch” radio show yesterday that members of militant groups like ISIS are the real Muslims who are truly “practicing their faith.”

Islam is such a danger, Perkins explained, that Muslim-Americans should not have the same religious freedoms as other citizens.

He echoed other Christianists on the subject of why Muslims should be deprived of freedom to follow their religion:

He warned that Islam isn’t necessarily protected under the Constitution because it “tears at the fabric of our society” and undermines “ordered liberty,” adding that Islam is “not just a religion, it’s an economic system, it’s a judicial system and it’s a military system.”

As with other Christianists who’ve advocated defying the First Amendment in order to outlaw Islam in the US, Perkins claims it’s not merely a religion, but a lot more, thus depriving it of protection:

He warned that Islam isn’t necessarily protected under the Constitution because it “tears at the fabric of our society” and undermines “ordered liberty,” adding that Islam is “not just a religion, it’s an economic system, it’s a judicial system and it’s a military system.”

I find it truly odd that a Christian like Tony-boy would condemn Islam because “it’s an economic system, it’s a judicial system and it’s a military system.” After all, the Religious Right movement as it exists in the US is most certainly an economic system, a judicial system, and a military system. If we’re to deprive Muslims in the US of their religious freedom on those grounds, then by the very same reasoning, Perkins and the rest of his fellow Christofascists must also forfeit theirs.

Only a brazen hypocrite could come up with something that insipid. Perkins’s own Jesus explicitly forbid him ever to be hypocritical, of course … but Tony-boy isn’t aware of that, and not likely ever to obey that injunction even if he were to be educated about it.

To be clear, I’m no more a fan of Islam than I am of Christianity (an accusation that correspondents have leveled at me). It is, of course, absolutely correct to protect the US and American interests, and Islamic terror groups such as ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-people-want-to-call-that-barbaric-brood ought to be destroyed. There also does appear to be something about Islam which allows such primitive barbarism to grow and fester in a manner not seen — at this moment — in any other religion. But even this admission doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, or even helpful, to outlaw Islam in the US or deprive Muslims here of their religious-freedom rights, merely because some anxious Christian presumes mosques here might be recruiting terrorists. Americans — all Americans, not just Christians! — have certain rights, not the least of which that they shouldn’t be presumed guilty of wanting to be terrorists until there’s reason to think they might be. This means Muslims should be left alone in their homes and mosques (which should continue to be built) until there’s information suggesting otherwise.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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SiegeOfAcre1291Earlier this month I blogged about some Fox News hosts who said that non-believers should leave the U.S. if they prefer not to be forced to say “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. One of them was Bob Beckel, who — as Politico reports — has since advocated that the religious freedoms of Muslims in this country be taken away (WebCite cached article):

Fox News co-host Bob Beckel went off on American Muslims on Monday, demanding that no more mosques be built until moderate Muslims “denounce” the recent mall attack in Kenya.

Islam is “not the religion of peace,” Beckel, the show’s relatively progressive co-host said. “They are the religion of Islamic [fundamentalism].”

“I will repeat what I said before: No Muslim students coming here with visas. No more mosques being built here until you stand up and denounce what’s happened in the name of your prophet,” Beckel continued.

Politico offers video of Beckel’s spew:

As I see it there are a couple of problems with Beckel’s position: First, and most importantly, it’s unconstitutional. Muslims have freedom of worship in this country, guaranteed by the First Amendment. Unless an individual Muslim, or group of them, is breaking the law, there are no grounds for preventing them from building any mosques. None. I’m sure Beckel would agree with a lot of Neocrusaders who think there is no freeedom of religion for Muslims, because (they argue) Islam is not a “religion” per se, but a “political philosophy” which (they further argue) can be banned. (Not that this distinction even matters very much, either: Political parties and organizations of all sorts are allowed to exist, and they have rights, too.)

Second, Beckel thinks “denunciations” by American Muslims will somehow do something about al-Shabab and other Islamofascist terror groups. I’m not convinced that mere words even matter much. What does matter, is action. Ultimately, it is up to Muslims to police their own religion and stamp out extremism within it. And mouthing denunciations isn’t going to do that. Even so, I’m not sure precisely what actions American Muslims can take to rein in al-Shabab. They’re half a world away and difficult to contact — it’s true they use Twitter (cached), but they keep changing their handle, so using it to reach them won’t work. Traveling there to confront them personally is difficult at best, and dangerously foolish at worst. What American Muslims can do, is to stop joining al-Shabab (cached), and not give them any money … but it goes without saying that the vast majority of American Muslims already are not doing either of those things.

So Beckel’s demand is not only unconstitutional, it’s useless. I’ll have to add him to the ranks of the unthinking, fierce Neocrusaders who actually believe that one form of irrational religionism (i.e. theirs) is superior to another (i.e. Muslims’). I’m not convinced this is the case. Rather, they’re two sides of the same coin … and therefore have no right to hurl stones (whether real or rhetorical) at each other.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Construction at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee in July, 2012 (Stephen Lance Dennee/Associated Press, via the New York Times)The Great Neocrusade pulled out all the stops in its effort to prevent a mosque from opening up in Murfreesboro, TN. I’ve blogged about the measures taken against it — both legal and illegal — by militant, furious Neocrusaders. But all of it was for naught. As the New York Times Lede blog reports, the mosque opened this weekend (locally-cached article):

After years of attacks, threats and court action, an Islamic center in Tennessee cleared one last hurdle that allowed it to open its doors on Friday to worshipers, allowing them to honor the occasion with prayers on what is Islam’s main congregational day of the week. But the opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was overshadowed by concerns after the shooting of worshipers at a Sikh temple on Sunday in Wisconsin and an arson attack on a mosque in Missouri this week. …

The mosque faced arson, vandalism and a court battle before it cleared [cached] a final step when it passed inspection this week and was given a temporary certificate of occupancy for 30 days.

Even in spite of their having ultimately lost this battle, some Neocrusaders still chose to be on hand to whine about the mosque’s opening:

Standing in the parking lot, Dan J. Qualls, 50, a former car plant worker, said he came to the center to protest. Mr. Qualls, wearing an “I Love Jesus” hat, said he understood that the First Amendment protects the right to worship freely but said he believed Islam represented violence.

To be clear, Mr Qualls and the rest of you Christofascist Neocrusaders … your own religion is violent, too. Moreover, you know it, even if you’d prefer not to have to admit it. Complaining about Islam being violent (and yes, it can be!) does not grant you the right to act as though your own religion is non-violent. It most certainly is not.

I suggest that Neocrusaders crack open their Bibles for once and actually read the reported teachings of Jesus Christ himself, the founder of their own religion:

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:3-5)

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Lk 6:41-42)

Before you militant Christians can presume the right to critique other peoples’ religions, you should begin following your own. Please start doing so.

Photo credit: Stephen Lance Dennee/AP, via the New York Times.

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Graffiti was spray-painted on the front door and two back doors of the mosque. (CBC)I’ve blogged about attacks on mosques around the US (including churches mistaken for moques!), and about a mosque in New York City that was Molotoved recently (although likely not for religious reasons). But this Neocrusading activity is not limited solely to the US. A mosque in Canada has been a repeated target of vandalism recently, as the CBC reports (WebCite cached article):

A mosque in Gatineau, Que., that has been a target of vandalism was spray-painted with graffiti overnight Thursday, prompting a condemnation from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Workers at the Outaouais Islamic Centre awoke Thursday to discover swear words and derogatory references to Arabs and Allah spray-painted in white. …

The mosque had earlier been vandalized Monday morning when someone smashed the windows of two cars and attempted to set fire to them in the parking lot. …

Police said it was the fourth incident in the last six months.

Muslim and Jewish groups alike are condemning this vandalism … the latter possibly because stars of David were among some of the graffiti. At any rate, the lesson here is that Neocrusading is not a phenomenon unique to the US. It’s yet another American export that the rest of the world definitely does not need.

Photo credit: CBC.

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The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has faced intense local opposition over plans to construct a new mosque. / CNNUpdate: There’s been some news about this mosque, which I’d missed; see below.

I already blogged about the mosque under construction in Mufreesboro, TN which was burned to the ground. And Tennessee’s Neocrusaders kept up their campaign against the project. But as CNN’s Belief Blog reports, their efforts have been for naught; the mosque is going to be built after all (locally-cached version):

It has taken months, but leaders of an embattled Murfreesboro, Tennessee, mosque say that construction of a new facility could start as soon as next month.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has existed for more than a decade. As it surpassed 1,000 worshippers, its members planned to build a new 52,000-square-foot structure with a mosque, gym, playground and cemetery.

The Neocrusaders certainly did put up a fight, though, using the aforementioned arson and vandalism, as well as lawsuits, and intimidating potential contractors:

Some contractors weren’t willing to take the job. Mosque leaders said contractors told them it had become too much of a hot-button issue and presented too much of a risk to their business and equipment. Several contractors began the bidding process but never finished.

Mosque officials said a contractor told them that he needed the work but that the leaders of his own church were against the new Islamic center.

“I had a contractor tell me, ‘I don’t want to get on bad terms with my preacher,'” said Essam Fathy, a member of the Islamic Center’s board of directors.

This isn’t surprising, since it happened in Tennessee, the state whose lieutenant governor once proudly declared that there is no freedom of religion for Muslims in the U.S.

Surely this is the Religion of Love at work, isn’t it? (That’s a little sarcasm, folks.) Way to go, people. Way to go. Your Jesus would have been so proud, I’m sure. Really.

Update (7/18/2012): Last month, local county officials — no doubt driven by Neocrusading furor — brought this project to a halt. But as The Tennessean reports, a federal judge threw a wrench in the Right’s machinery and set it back on track (cached). Not surprisingly, mosque opponents are upset, and claim they were cheated of an opportunity to try to stop the project. This is truly laughable and pathetic, given all they’ve done, for a couple of years now, to try to keep this mosque from being built. These people desperately need to fucking grow the hell up.

Photo credit: CNN Belief Blog.

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Torches & Pitchforks | TV TropesSo, what do Neocrusaders do when they hear about a Muslim terrorism suspect being arrested in a sting operation (WebCite cached article)? Why, obviously, they torch a mosque that the suspect attended. WMTR-TV in Eugene, OR reports on the suspected arson (cached article):

A fire early Sunday morning at the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center attended by Mohamed Osman Mohamud has been declared arson by the Corvallis Fire Department.

Officials said that the fire — which was contained to one room — was intentionally set.

The FBI has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

That’s right, folks. Before all the facts have been revealed, before there’s been a conviction, before even the trial has begun — the Neocrusaders have already pronounced sentence; the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center has been found guilty of its complicity (in what hasn’t even been determined a crime yet), and set ablaze.

Why, absolutely this is justified. After all, didn’t Muslims kill Americans on September 11, 2001? Shouldn’t all the mosques around the country be set on fire? Please note, this is not the first mosque that’s been torched by enraged Neocrusaders, I’ve already blogged about another mosque arson.

Can we finally decide that, maybe — just maybe — it’s time for people to fucking grow the hell up, fercryinoutloud, before someone gets killed?

Photo credit: TV Tropes.

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Crusaders battleThe nation’s Neocrusaders continue their war against Islam within the US. They really don’t care that what they’re doing is wrong, because — according to them — the Constitutional principle of religious freedom doesn’t apply to Islam. And they’re so insanely, childishly furious about the existence of Islam, that they sometimes miss their targets. An example of this can be seen in this report filed by The Atlantic‘s Wire blog (WebCite cached article):

Some vigilant citizens in Phoenix, Arizona are up in arms over a domed church that they wrongly believe to be a mosque. The large building, still under construction along a busy interstate, is actually a nondenominational church.

That’s right, the horrific mosque that Arizona’s Neocrusaders are up in arms about, is actually a church! Said church has even taken measures to defuse the furious Neocrusaders:

The backlash has been severe enough that the church’s leaders have hung a giant banner over the dome: “IF YOU THINK DIFFERENT YOU ARE WRONG — WE ARE BUILDING A CHRISTIAN HOUSE OF WORSHIP.”

It’s not as though domed churches have never been built anywhere, but apparently, the Neocrusaders think there are none and assume any domed structure must be a mosque.

Isn’t it time for you people to grow the fuck up already?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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