‘Every time we allow a mosque to go up, it’s like planting IED’
The proposed Ground Zero mosque in New York City has been a focal point for those wanting to expand Islam’s influence in America, but it’s not the only front on which the nation is facing the advance of Muslim interests.
There are more than 3,000 mosques in the U.S., and work is being done on several major projects that have neighbors alarmed to the point of resistance.
One of the hot-button mosques is the proposed Temecula Valley Islamic Center. Land for the project was purchased several years ago, but a number of people in the Southern California town have an organized campaign to derail the project.
Opponents have held signs on street corners, and a number of the protesters say their concerns include many facets other than being “anti-Muslim.”
One of the leading spokesmen for the mosque opponents is Mano Bakh, who fled Iran 30 years ago after the Shia-backed Iranian Islamic Revolution
Bakh believes it’s appropriate to oppose the mosque because there are two sides to Islam.
“The main reason is that there are two segments to Islam, the thing that calls itself a religion. One is the religious part of it to pray and the other one is to Shariah law, the way of life,” Bakh explained.
“We have no problem with the praying part of Islam. What we have a problem with is preaching what is in Shariah law,” Bakh continued.
However, the former Iranian citizen and author who has shared his story in his biography, “Escaping Islam,” says the community is willing to extend an olive branch.
“We have given a pledge of friendship to the imam. We say, ‘If you really claim that you’re a moderate and inclined to moderation in Islam,’ sign it,” Bakh said.
However, he continued with some harsh words of clarification.
“Don’t say you’re a moderate Muslim if you’re going to preach the same hatred from the Quran and Islam and Shariah law. He has to sign it and build a pledge of friendship,” Bakh stated.
The olive branch isn’t only for the imam at the Temecula Valley project.
“We would love to have all the imams across the country in the United States sign it, acknowledge it, that you’re a moderate. The reason is simple. In Islam, there is no moderation. You may find a moderate Muslim, but you cannot [find] moderation within the religion that they claim,” Bakh explained.
“We in California, in America, because we want the people to understand more, we have organized a night of education on September 20 at 7 p.m. We have invited several hundred people to come and understand the truth of our position, to understand what we think Islam and the mosque should be and what they want to use the mosque for. That’s two different things,” Bakh continued.
“In my past, I have been a Muslim apostate and wrote about it in my book, ‘Escaping Islam,’” he added.
“In Islam there are five pillars of Islam. If you believe in the five pillars, you’re a Muslim. Those five pillars have nothing to do with the background, has nothing to do with wife-beating, has nothing to do with Shariah,” Bakh stated.
“We are concerned that they are going to preach hate. That’s why they’re not calling it a mosque, they’re calling it an Islamic Education Center. What they’re going to teach is hate, and killing the infidel,” Bakh asserted.
Bakh stated in an interview with Southern California Public Radio that he favors taking away civil liberties from Muslims as long as they promote values contrary to the U. S. Constitution.
The proposed Islamic Education Center will go before a city planning board in November.
A proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., has attracted media attention because the project has been greeted with organized protests. Mosque opponents say they don’t want the 15-acre site to be a training center for militants who may go on suicide bomb missions.
One report alleges that anti-mosque feeling may have been the motive for an act of arson earlier this month at the proposed mosque site. Federal authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information on the alleged arson.
Other mosques around the country have been getting similar attention, although the levels of opposition vary.
A source in St. Joseph, Mo., who does not want to be identified says the proposed mosque project in that community isn’t drawing public protests. The opposition in the Missouri city about an hour north of Kansas City is coming mostly from blog posts and e-mail campaigns.
Another mosque opened in the affluent Philadelphia suburb of Berwyn, Pa. The Washington Post reported that the Pennsylvania mosque has good relations with its neighbors and opened with little, if any, attention from the media.
The stories of cordial relationships would seem to counter the aggressive anti-mosque position of the protesters. However, the stories of peace and harmony between the mosque and the community don’t seem to square with reality.
American Family Association policy analyst Bryan Fischer says 80 percent of the mosques being built are funded by Middle Eastern money. Most are also acting as training academies.
Terror-group leader: Muslims in U.S., around world united in common cause
Two days after President Obama came out in support of a plan to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero, the controversial project has received yet another high-profile endorsement – this one from the chief of the terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“We have to build the mosque, as you are allowed to build the church and Israelis are building their holy places,” stated Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas who is regarded as the chief of the group in Gaza.
Zahar said that as Muslims, “We have to build everywhere.”
“In every area we have, [as Muslims] we have to pray, and this mosque is the only site of prayer, especially for the people when they are looking [to be] in the group, not an individual,” he said.
Zahar was speaking in a radio interview today with Aaron Klein, WND’s Jerusalem bureau chief and host of investigative show on New York’s WABC Radio.
Zahar told Klein he was speaking on the mosque issue with authority, claiming Hamas “is representing the vast majority of the Arabic and Islamic world, especially the Islamic side.”
Zahar said that Muslims around the world, including those in the U.S., are united in a common cause.
Stated the Hamas chieftain: “First of all, we have to address that we are different as people, as a nation totally different. We already are living under the tradition of Islam. … Islam is controlling every source of our life as regard to marriage, divorce, our commercial relationships. … Even the Islamic people or the Muslims in your country, they are living now in the tradition of Islam. They are fasting, they are praying.”
New York Islamic leader Faisal Abdul Rauf, president of the Cordoba Initiative, has caused a stir with his proposed 13-story, $100 million Islamic cultural center and mosque near the corner of Park Place and West Broadway – about two blocks from the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Rauf sparked controversy last month when he refused during a live interview on Klein’s WABC show to condemn violent jihad groups as terrorists. Rauf repeatedly refused on the air to affirm the U.S. designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization or call the Muslim Brotherhood extremists.
The Brotherhood openly seeks to spread Islam around the world, while Hamas is committed to Israel’s destruction and is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks aimed at Jewish civilian population centers.
During the interview, Klein also asked Rauf who he believes was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.
“There’s no doubt,” stated Rauf. “The general perception all over the world was it was created by people who were sympathetic to Osama bin Laden. Whether they were part of the killer group or not, these are details that need to be left to the law-enforcement experts.”
Rauf has been on record several times blaming U.S. policies for the Sept. 11 attacks. He has been quoted refusing to admit Muslims carried out the attacks.
Referring to the Sept. 11 attacks, Rauf told CNN, “U.S. policies were an accessory to the crime that happened. We (the U.S.) have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. Osama bin Laden was made in the USA.”