Saturday, July 31, 2010

Protests against a mosque (updated)

You've heard about the protests against the mosque at Ground Zero, right? But did you hear about the one in Temecula, CA?

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.

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.
This week, things heated up. The LA Times tells us,
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."

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."
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 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.

Across the street, a larger group of counterprotesters wore white shirts to show solidarity with the Muslims.
(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,
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.

"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.
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.

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?


Leonard said...

Exactly...consider me a White shirter who has far more ¨real concern¨ regarding CHRISTIAN DOMINIONISTS than I do Muslims building a Mosque in Temecula.

Erp said...

I fear it is the same mindset that interned Americans of Japanese descent in WWII. They are considered the ENEMY. No matter if they denounce the terrorists, it isn't heard. No matter how much they proclaim their Americanism or peacefulness, it isn't heard. No matter what they do, if it doesn't support the preconceived notions, it isn't seen.

What is heard are the lies that support the mindset. One recent example is the story of Ergun Caner, who after 9/11 became popular on the evangelical sermon circuit with his story of coming to America as a teenager from the Middle East as a devout Islamic terrorist raised in a Muslim school who didn't speak English and ready to blow something up but he found Jesus and became a true Christian. Many lapped it up and he (and his younger brother) are perceived by many as the Evangelical experts on Islam. He eventually became Dean/President of Liberty University's theological seminary. The story is unraveling. He was nominally a Muslim when young but born in Sweden and raised in the US and the US public school system since he was a toddler. For an 'expert' on Islam he doesn't understand Arabic and makes elementary mistakes about Islam. Liberty University removed him as Dean for "factual statements that are self-contradictory" but he remains a professor and he still has many supporters. People hear what they want to hear.

Brother David said...

"(But) don't force your religion on me and don't force your political movement on me," she said.

Wow, how many times have we said that? Now the shoe is on the other foot. The only thing is, that in this situation is that it is not true. The Moslems are not forcing anything on anybody!

They are requesting that the bigots respect their rights to build a house of worship on their own property in the community where they live.

I wonder how long until these fundamentalists bring out their white sheets and hoods?

JCF said...

This is SO pathetic (I mean, in a disgusting, horrifying way, of course).

Chris Hayes (in for Rachel Maddow) had a bit on this last week: dumping on Islam has now become an official Republican Talking Point (e.g., Newt Gingrich wanting an official policy against Shariah law. Um, like ANYONE---outside of a whackadoodle here or there---is proposing Shariah in the USA?)

Al Qaeda perpetrated 9/11. Not Islam. Not all Muslims. Not Muslims living in NYC, who want to build a community center w/ small worship space, near (not in) Ground Zero. And there's no reason they shouldn't. Period.

it's margaret said...

And this is precisely the 'christianity' that Anne Rice was resigning from....

maybe I'll join her....

Brother David said...

And this is precisely the 'christianity' that Anne Rice was resigning from....

Margaret, I think that we can safely conclude that we never were part of that christianity.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Dangerous but not yet scary. And I mean the Christianists... Give them the Constitution!