Of the many hundreds of towns on Long Island, NY, where do Muslims want to build a big mosque?

samp066c38aa3d340766In a town called Mt. Sinai, named for the mountain ascended by Moses, from which he brought forth the Ten Commandments, Muslims are fighting to construct a mosque.

Evidence of how much Muslims are dying to get into Mr. Sinai, 2 years ago they petitioned for Muslim-only cemetery in Mt. Sinai: of-all-places-in-long-island-to-put-a-muslim-only-cemetery-they-have-to-choose-a-place-called-mount-sinai/

Moses ascended Mount Sinai, and G-d spoke to him the following words (Exodus 3-6): “So shall you say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel. You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles’ wings, and I brought you to Me. And now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.”

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Newsday The 6,500-square-foot mosque would be on a 3.44-acre property owned by applicant Mohammed Sameen — specifically, inside his renovated backyard barn at Mount Sinai-Coram Road and Hamlet Drive, near the Willow Creek golf course. “My client looks forward to becoming an important part of the fabric of the community,” said Sameen’s attorney, Timothy Shea Jr. of Hauppauge.

At a meeting held by the Mount Sinai Civic Association last week, nearby residents spoke of concerns about traffic and congestion, according to civic association board member Deirdre DuBato. “People did not want to see anything change,” she said of some commenters at the civic meeting.

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Residents are arguing that a mosque in the community would disrupt the quality of life. They say their main concern is traffic, adding that a synagogue, church or any other house of worship in a residential area would have the same effect. According to residents, roads in the area are narrow, have no shoulders or lights and have already led to a high number of accidents.

Dr. Mohammed Sameen and his attorney say that the mosque will only be used on Friday and Sundays.

Many who died in the Muslim terror attacks on 9/11 were residents of Long Island, who made the daily commute to the Twin Towers on the Long Island Rail Road. So it’s no wonder that Long Islanders are more wary than most about Muslims in their midst.

NY Times Muslims on Long Island say, they have been waging jihad. And they are saddened, but not surprised, when non-Muslims misunderstand what that means. “We do not believe in jihad the way suicide bombers do,” said Bushra Butt, the president of the Ladies’ Auxiliary at the Bait ul-Huda mosque in Amityville. “We teach other people who are not Muslims what the truth of Islam is. That is our real jihad.” 

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The word literally means struggle, but properly used, it connotes a struggle for spiritual improvement, not a holy war born of hatred, said Dr. Faroque Khan, the president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, in Westbury. The name Islam itself means peace. (DING DING DING! Islam means submission, NOT peace)

Continuing terror attacks since 9/11 (more than 20,000 to date) committed in Islam’s name by Al Qaeda and others  keep renewing Islamophobia anti-Islamism, the obsessive justified fears, suspicions and prejudices that many people of other backgrounds harbor toward Muslims, religious leaders on the Island say.

And though a similar term has not yet been coined for it, (Yes there is, “Infidelophobia) many Muslims on the Island respond with a collective fear and suspicion of those outside their faith, and of the motives behind some of the post-9/11 security efforts that seem aimed at Muslims.

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As a result, many of the estimated 75,000 Muslims on Long Island keep as low a profile as they can. Of the 20 or more mosques on the Island, only 4 list their telephone numbers in the Yellow Pages and other directories. Most of the Island’s mosques did not respond to letters and repeated phone calls seeking comment for this article.

Many non-Muslims on the Island expressed intolerance, and more willingness to suspect all Muslims of complicity in terrorism. “Why couldn’t they find a sleeper cell on Long Island – they found one in Queens, they found one in New Jersey,” said Cathy Costello, 63, a Hampton Bays legal secretary. “We should loosen up our laws just the way they do in other countries. They don’t worry about the A.C.L.U. – they shoot first and ask questions later. Which is what I think we should do here.”

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Margie Miller of Baldwin, whose husband, Joel Miller, worked for Marsh & McLennan on the 97th floor of One World Trade Center and died in the 9/11 attack, said she struggled to feel compassion for Muslims. “As a Jew, I should be more sensitive to the victimization that the Muslims say they are experiencing, but Pollyanna has left the building,” said Mrs. Miller, 55, a recently retired Hebrew-school teacher. “If your house is burglarized, you change the locks so the burglars can’t get in again. But I don’t see that we’ve done that.”

Muslim leaders on Long Island say, “We see our religion being hijacked,” said Ahmed Yuceturk, 26, an imam who lives at the United American Muslim Association mosque in Dix Hills. “How many terrorists are there who are Muslim?“Islam cannot be used in the same sentence as terrorists,” Mr. Yuceturk said. “They are opposites to each other, like fire and water in the same place.”

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Mr. Imam, who emigrated from Pakistan in 1982, lives with his wife and family in Mount Sinai. He operates a pharmacy in Coram and serves as a trustee of his mosque in Selden. He frequently gives talks about Islam in schools, houses of worship and community centers in Suffolk. “The more we educate people, the more we will be better off,” he said. “I give police officers who are graduating from the academy a copy of the Quran in English.”

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Five women from Bait ul-Huda mosque in Amityville, were flying back to New York from a convention in Chicago. “We were sitting in the front rows of the plane, and it was time for our evening prayer,” she said, but when they began to pray, “a couple of people got uneasy, and the attitude of the air hostess was hostile.”

The flight attendant refused to serve them for the rest of the flight, she said, and a woman with a young child who was seated nearby moved to another part of the plane.

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Mr. Alladin, 31, a project manager for Symbol Technologies who lives in North Babylon, remembered attending a function soon after Sept. 11. “A friend was playing with my PalmPilot, and 90 percent of the names in my address book were Muslim,” he said. “And this person, whom I knew very well, said, ‘If I ever find out you’re a terrorist, I will kill you.’ “

Judy Grimner of Baldwin, 53, who teaches sixth grade  in Westbury lost her husband on 9/11, Dave Grimner, who worked on the 98th floor of One World Trade Center. “Everyone knew my husband had been killed,” she said. “About one month after 9/11, a Muslim sixth grader came up to me and said he was happy the terrorists had blown up the World Trade Center. I was shocked and upset.” Mrs. Grimner said she had heard that the student’s father had taken him to Pakistan for a month over the summer.

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