Temecula is an inland town in southern Riverside county, known for its vineyards. Originally a sleepy rural stop on the stagecoach route, it is now a bedroom community for San Diego and Los Angeles with a very conservative brand of politics. There is a Muslim group there that has plans to build a new mosque to replace their rented space.
This week, a group of protesters took to the streets against the Islamic community. Reports the Riverside County Press-Enterprise,
A plan to build a mosque in Temecula has divided the southwest Riverside County city where conservative values and freedom of religion are both cherished.That almost puts "conservative values" at odds with "freedom of religion".
Vocal opponents of the 25,000-square-foot mosque proposed for 4 acres in the city's northeastern corner describe Islam not as a religion, but as a political movement bent on taking over the world and squelching freedom in favor of strict religious law.This week, things heated up. The LA Times tells us,
Supporters of the project say members of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, which wants to build the mosque, are peaceful, law-abiding citizens who deserve the right to worship their God freely.
on July 15 an unsigned bulletin about the event was posted on the website of the southwest Riverside County chapter of "We the People — Citizens in Action."Nice touch, eh? the dogs are intended as a deliberate insult to the Muslim worshipers who consider them dirty. Oh and I like the bit about the teaparty scrubbing the site. I'll just bet they did...they deny any teaparty involvement.
The announcement on the website, which has since disappeared, stated that Islam is a "worldwide political movement meant" to dominate the world. It called on protesters to "bring your Bibles, flags, signs, dogs and singing voice on Friday."
The Press-Enterprise continues:
Divisions over the mosque played out in a protest Friday in front of the current Islamic center in Temecula. About 20 protesters carried signs such as "Muslims Danced for Joy on 9/11" and "No Sharia Law," a reference to a legal framework based on the Muslim holy book.(Emphasis mine). THAT'S good. I'm told by a resident that there were only about 20 protesters, and that most of the community is horrified by them. Also good. Still,
Across the street, a larger group of counterprotesters wore white shirts to show solidarity with the Muslims.
Diane Serafin, of Murrieta, who attended Friday's protest, said Islam is a political movement, and Muslims are trying to impose Sharia law on America.Say again? How is building a mosque "forcing [a] religion" on Ms Serafin? A Baptist minister also opposes the mosque, although a large inter-faith group supports it. Really, what part of the Constitutional protection of freedom of religion do these people not understand? No one is going to be dragged into the mosque to worship. These are mostly professionals who want the same freedom to practice their religion that Christians have.
"I am not a prejudiced person ... (But) don't force your religion on me and don't force your political movement on me," she said.
But increasingly we see it is not freedom even for ALL Christians. The Christian right assumes upon itself the right to define Christianity and to insist that we live under their version. They have no compunction about state sponsored religion as long as it's their religion the state sponsored. They want to live in a theocracy. They are no different from conservative Islamic countries who impose sharia law.
Hey, Temecula protesters: The Muslims have exactly the same rights you do to practice their faith. It's called the COnstitution, and it covers ALL of us.
Update: and then there's this church in Florida, which plans an event to burn the Qu'ran, which they consider "perverted". The perversion is clear here....and it's not the Qu'ran. You will know they are Christian by their hate?