Ignorant Bigots Set Fire to Tennessee Mosque Site

August 29, 2010

(ChattahBox)—The vitriolic campaign of anti-Islam hate and fearmongering promoted by Fox News and right-wing leaders, has spread far away from the controversy whipped up at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. A small, but vocal group of bigoted Americans influenced by the incendiary rhetoric equating Muslims with terrorists, have come forward to loudly protest the building of new Mosques in their towns. Recently a roomful of residents at a zoning board hearing in Mayfield, Kentucky, cheered when the board denied a request for a building permit to build a Mosque. In Riverside County, California, a local tea party group organized a protest, encouraging participants to bring dogs, because Muslims “hate dogs.”

But in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the hate and ignorance has become violent. After ugly public opposition against the building of a new Mosque, led to vandalism at the building site, last night police discovered someone with a canister of gasoline had set the construction equipment on fire. The blaze destroyed one piece of equipment and damaged two others.

Law enforcement officials have ruled the blaze an act of arson and are investigating, according to the report by CBC News:

“Special Agent Andy Anderson of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told CBS News that the fire destroyed one piece of construction equipment and damaged three others. Gas was poured over the equipment to start the fire, Anderson said.

“The ATF, FBI and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office are conducting a joint investigation into the fire, Anderson said.”

In June, a sign announcing the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was torn. And in January, the message “Not Welcome” was spray painted on the sign.

The hate and hysteria has been escalating, since a contentious June meeting of the Rutherford County Commission, in which 600 people showed up, many to voice their opposition to the building of a new Islamic center that would house a pool, gymnasium, school and place of worship.

The Islamic center of Murfreesboro has been operating in the area, without controversy, for over a decade in a business building. But in the wake of the Islamophobia generated by the heated opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” some Murfreesboro residents vehemently oppose the project.

The reasons for their opposition are grounded in ignorance, fear and bigotry:

“Opponents of a new Islamic center say they believe the mosque will be more than a place of prayer; they are afraid the 15-acre site that was once farmland will be turned into a terrorist training ground for Muslim militants bent on overthrowing the U.S. government.”

“They are not a religion. They are a political, militaristic group,” Bob Shelton, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in the area, told The Associated Press.

“Shelton was among several hundred demonstrators who recently wore “Vote for Jesus” T-shirts and carried signs that said “No Sharia law for USA!,” referring to the Islamic code of law.”

Another resident, recently said “I found out when the sign came up,” said Murfreesboro resident Mark Walker, whose home is near the site of the proposed mosque. “We are fighting these people, for crying out loud, we should not be promoting this.”

The website of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, has a growing list of announcements and responses to the bigoted opposition and vandalism of its building site.

After the second time the center’s sign was vandalized, the Islamic center of Murfreesboro posted a statement, expressing shock at the hate:

“We are extremely saddened to see that there are a few members from the community who are misinformed and chose to target us by making hate statements and vandalizing our private property.”

“To the overwhelming majority who has shown us support and wished us well; we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We wish for nothing more than to reside in peace and to be a good neighbor. We are just practicing our constitutional rights, just as any other lawful citizen of this beloved country of ours would.”


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