Jul 12 2010
Finally, Americans are waking up to the threat that Islam poses as anti-mosque fever spreads to California.
Heated debate over the nature of Islam is overshadowing plans to build a mosque in northeast Temecula. Critics, including the pastor of a church next to the mosque site, say the worship center is a bad fit for the area. They’re also concerned with what they describe as Islam’s extreme agenda of expansion.
The Islamic Center of Temecula Valley’s imam, or prayer leader, said his group is peaceful and only seeks more room to serve its members. And the civil rights manager for a Muslim-American advocacy group said the mosque’s critics are ignorant, if not bigoted.
The proposal to build a 24,950-square-foot mosque on a 4-acre site on Nicolas Road is tentatively scheduled to come before the Temecula Planning Commission on Aug. 18.
Mosque construction plans have encountered resistance nationwide in recent months. Proposals to build mosques in Tennessee, Wisconsin and near ground zero in New York have all been met with protests.
“When churches decide to expand or build facilities, what’s the purpose behind that?” asked Affad Sheikh, civil rights manager with the Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Why is this question being asked of the Muslim community?” (Because Christians and Jews don’t fly planes into buildings or shoot up Army bases)
The mosque would be built next to Calvary Baptist Church. Pastor Bill Rench worries the mosque is too large for the site.
But he said he’s particularly concerned about what he described as “the whole issue of Islam and what it stands for.” “It’s certainly a religion that is not only different but contrary to Christianity,” he said. “Where it’s dominant, religious freedom goes out the window … the message of Islam is the spread of Islam by whatever means necessary.”
Putting the mosque next to Calvary is “almost like trying to put oil and water together,” Rench added.
Bob Kowell, president of the Murrieta Temecula Republican Assembly, said while he doesn’t have a problem with the mosque, “We’re for the free expression of all religions that don’t call for my death or your death or the suppression of women.” The mosque needs to reject Osama bin Laden and holy war against non-Muslims, Kowell said.”If they do not reject these things, then they’re a part of it,” he said.
An online group called Concerned Community Citizens is circulating a petition about the mosque. The petition states the mosque will lead to traffic congestion, noise pollution and other environmental problems.
CAIR said critics’ comments speak to their ignorance, if not their bigotry. “You have a community in your backyard and you don’t even know this community,” he said. “And you’re making these statements — it speaks to how much ignorance there is.” (Gee, that’s a good way to make your point, insult your neighbors) Press Enterprise