The Crescent Report

July 8, 2010

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 1:47 pm

There seems to be a well orchestrated growing campaign by Islamophobes, tea party activists and other groups with anti-Muslim sentiment to stop the American Muslim community from exercising its religious and constitutional right to build houses of worship.  One of the largest unsuccessful campaigns for such activities that included groups like Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project, Robert Spencer and the David Project was launched against the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.  Although this effort included some strange bed cells such as Kate, the Political Affairs Director of the Israeli Consulate in Boston, the community of Boston rejected such a bigoted and un-American concept and the mosque in Boston was finally built.  However, it seems as if organized efforts to stop Muslims from building mosques in the US have intensified.  Check out the piece below.  Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day:   “Deliberate injustice is more fatal to the one who imposes it than the one on whom it is imposed.”

Freedom of Religion for Muslims? Apparently, Not Everyone’s “Cup of Tea”

MAS Freedom Expresses Concerns over Growing Trend by Tea Party Activists and Others to Halt the Building of Mosques in the US

Should Muslims in America be protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which simply guarantees the freedom of religion?

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that some groups on the “Right” side of the ideological spectrum would answer this question with a resounding “No.”  And while the Tea Party movement has not taken an official position of opposing Constitutional rights for Muslims, a number of prominent leaders in this group are leading efforts to deny Muslims the right to establish places of worship in a number of communities in America.

The first challenge to Muslims was not in the form of an anti-mosque protest.  It came as a public statement by Mark Williams, the then spokesperson for the movement, who assailed Muslims as people who worship a “monkey god”, and referred to some members of the faith as “animals”.  Williams, however, did later apologize for his slander-not to the Muslim community, but to Hindus, who do have, in their pantheon of gods, a deity who is indeed a monkey.

But this outrageous insult did not define the entire matter.  Now, Tea party leaders are closely identified with massive efforts to deny the right of Muslims to legally acquire land for the purpose of building of houses of worship in a number of communities in the United States.  In New York City, for example, Dr, John Press, a prominent local Tea Party leader, is a leading figure in opposing the building of a mosque at 45 Park Place in Lower Manhattan- a location close to the site of the September 11, 2001 attack.  Press has identified himself as a “culturalist” who “defends a European Judeo-Christian culture in America.  Translation: Muslims, who are neither Judeo-Christian nor European (that is, not white) are not welcome.

And in another part of the country, Pamela Geller, the Executive Director of a group called  “Stop Islamization of America”, recently spoke at a Tea Party gathering and voices her opposition to the expansion of a mosque property in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  Another activist, Lou Ann Zelnik, is a Tea Party candidate for Congress who voiced her opinion that the planned Islamic center in that Southern community was designed to “fracture the Moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee.”

Tea Party-ers claim to be patriots and defenders of the American Constitution.  They wrap themselves in the American flag and evoke the revolutionary spirit of the Boston Tea party in 1775, America’s most notable anti-tax protest.  But this Constitution is a holistic document, and one very important part of it says that all people-and that includes Muslims-have the freedom to worship, even if their neighbors insult and excoriate the faith that they choose to embrace.

It is not a crime for Muslims to insist on our right to build mosques.  We have been present in America since before the establishment of the United States.  But will the Tea Party movement reject bigotry and fear-mongering when it comes to the rights of Muslims in this nation?

MAS Freedom will continue to monitor these attacks on religious freedom and speak out in support of the right of Muslims-like Christian, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and so many others- to freely establish places of worship in America.

Ibrahim Ramey

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