Proposed mosque shot down by angry Tennesseans

Through e-mails, blogs and word of mouth, opponents told friends and neighbors they were suspicious of the mosque and feared its leaders had ties to terrorist organizations. They encouraged citizens to write letters to the city commission  expressing their concerns, including worries about traffic and flooding. Apparently, it worked. YES!

On Wednesday night, the mosque’s organizers admitted defeat. They withdrew their application to rezone 14 acres on Wilson Pike for a house of worship. Community opposition and the $450,000 cost of building a turn lane made the project untenable.

Mosque rendering

“There comes a time when you have to say, ‘We can’t do this anymore,’ ” said Jaweed Ansari, a Brentwood spokesman for the Islamic Center of Williamson County

To allay neighbors’ fears, the Islamic Center agreed to a series of restrictions on the site. The mosque would have been relatively small, with a prayer hall for about 325 people and a fellowship hall and kitchen for meals and gatherings. The mosque would not have had outside loudspeakers to broadcast a call to prayer and few outside lights.

“We started this in very good faith,” he said. “We had a neighborhood meeting, and we thought this would be a friendly thing. Instead of that, it turned out to be a very angry thing.”

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Matt Bonner, who lives in Nashville but is a member of Brentwood United Methodist Church, helped organize resistance to the mosque.

“Not enough people understand the political doctrine of Islam,” he said in an interview before the mosque project was withdrawn. “The fact is that the mosques are more than just a church. No one can predict what this one will be used for.”

Bonner said his suspicions about Islam were shaped in part by the writings of Bill French, a former physics professor who now runs the Nashville-based Center for the Study of Political Islam. He argues that Islam is not really a religion. Instead, Warner says that Islam is a dangerous political ideology.

Bonner also accused the Islamic Center of trying to bully the city of Brentwood into accepting its proposal. During a May 5 meeting, the center’s attorney pointed out that federal and state law gives religious institutions special protections when it comes to zoning.

Ansari says the center’s lawyer was at the meeting to protect the rights of the families who were trying to organize the mosque. Bonner didn’t see it that way. “The impression is that they are seeking special treatment,” he said. “What kind of neighbor is that who comes in threatening lawsuits?”

The accusations of bullying and ties to terrorism mystify Ansari. “We are trying to build a place where God’s name will be glorified,” Ansari said. “The same God that the Christians and Jews worship.” (Yeah, right)

None of the organizers has any ties to extremists and they are no threat to anyone, he said. (HAH! So they ALL say)

Ansari said that he and other organizers are worn out from working on the failed Wilson Pike proposal, which took months of planning and cost thousands of dollars. (I know several locations in the Middle East where you can build your mosques but we can’t build churches. Don’t let the door hit you….)

“We’ll look for another place,” he said. “What else can we do? All of us cannot pack up and leave. (Yes, you can. I’ll even give you airfare – one way) We are here to stay. We have the same rights and freedoms as anyone else. So we’ll look for someplace else — hopefully something that will not evoke such a furor.” (How about San Francisco, there are a lot of IslamoFascist sympathizers there.) Tennessean H/T herr OYAL

RELATED STORIES: Islam in America

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