Plans For Mosque In My Backyard Draws Protests
“The Islamic foothold is not strong here, and we really don’t want to see their influence spread,” said Pastor Bill Rench of the Calvary Baptist Church. The Baptist Bastille is located on a cul-de-sac where the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley plans to build.
Rench said said the two religions “mix like oil and water” and predicted a “confrontational atmosphere” if the project moves forward.
“There is a concern with all the rumors you hear about sleeper cells and all that. Are we supposed to be complacent just because these people say it’s a religion of peace? Many others have said the same thing,” he said.
Karen Fesini, who belongs to a Republican women’s group in the Temecula and Murrieta area, said she’s been making calls to warn her friends about the project.
“They say they’re not radicals, but how do we know?”‘ said Fesini, 68. “Right now we’re at war with the Taliban and the Muslims and our boys are over there fighting and dying for our freedom. What would it be like if they come home and found out we just let them in the front door?”
A petition opposing the new mosque is being circulated by a group called Concerned Community Citizens, and other politically active volunteers have started organizing a campaign against the facility.
There are 150 Muslim families living in the Temecula, Murrieta and surrounding communities. They pray in a make-shift mosque in a white industrial building nestled between a pipeline company and packaging warehouse on the west end of town.
For 10 years, area Muslims have saved their money. They purchased the vacant four-acre land in 2000. They plan to build a mosque starting with 4,100 square feet and eventually expand to 24,943 square feet.
To the horror of dissident residents, the Mediterranean design which matches the motif of the sprawling neighborhoods will include those traditional domes topped with — gasp — crescent moons.
And the additional traffic congestion it will create will be intolerable, they doth protest.
As the protest movement gathers up steam for several showdowns, first with the city Planning Commission in August, the mosque’s imam concedes the protest is loud but misplaced, especially among his fellow clergy.
“Our children go to the same schools their children go to. We shop at the same stores where they shop,” said Mahmoud Harmoush, the imam. At the industrial center the Muslims felt welcome, he said.
Despite protests from the Baptist and one other pastor, the Interfaith Council of Temecula and Murrieta Valley unanimously endorsed the plans for the mosque, its chairman said.
The Los Angeles Times, which reported the story after community newspapers raised the stink, said the Temecula city attorney advised the mayor and city council not to talk about the mosque because the Planning Commission’s vote on the application for the facility could be appealed to the council.
“A lot of this has been blown out of proportion,” said the Rev. Joe Zarro, the minister at the United Church of the Valley. “It’s important for people to see our neighbors, and for them to be part of our community.”
In case you didn’t get it, I was being satirical. I have lived in Temecula for four years and never seen a woman or girl wear a veil or burqa. Needless to say, the area does have its red necks. Too many are drinking the Kool-Aid served up by the Glenn Beck University of Intolerance. An al-Qaida sleeper cell in Temecula? Bring it on. Lousy duty for the poor FBI S.O.B. that draws that assignment. And shame on you, Rev. Bill Rench. Or is it Billy Bob? Hey if he can dish it out, so can I.
Cross posted on The Remmers Report
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