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Brookfield Mosque Backers Parry Volley of Questions

Using zoning laws to try and undermine the construction of mosques:

Brookfield mosque backers parry volley of questions

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

Brookfield - A crowd gathered at the Brookfield Public Library raised questions Tuesday not just about a proposed mosque in the area, but about the faith and ideology of those who plan to use it.

“We’re not fighting against a religion, what we’re fighting against is a tyrannical ideology,” said Janet Spiewak of the conservative Eagle Forum, which hosted the discussion.

She urged residents to raise concerns about the mosque’s traffic impact and other zoning issues at the city’s upcoming meetings on the project, presumably as a way of stopping it from being built.

“We can, through public pressure, force the aldermen and the mayor to acknowledge where the majority of Brookfield stands,” she said.

The project was intended to be discussed inside the library, but more than 30 people showed up, so it was moved outside, while the regular Forum meeting continued inside.

Islamic Society of Milwaukee President Ahmed Quereshi and Executive Director Othman Atta answered a barrage of questions – at times hostile – on the size of the building, terrorism, sharia law, the role of women in Islam, and what is and isn’t in the Qur’an.

Their answers were at times met with derisive laughter and heckling. Some people focused on basics such as traffic; others threw out examples of violence and terrorism done by people claiming to act in concert with Islamic teaching.

Police officers watched from cars nearby.

“We are not advocating extremism,” said Atta, noting that as an attorney he has sworn an oath to uphold the laws of the United States. “We’re here as American citizens. Our goal here is just to provide a house of worship for the community who reside here.”

The Islamic Society is proposing to build a 12,950-square-foot mosque and community center on 4.25 acres east of N. Calhoun Road on Pheasant Drive.

The Society, which operates a 70,000-square-foot complex near S. 13th St. and W. Layton Ave. in Milwaukee, said it has about 100 families who live within a 4-mile radius of the Brookfield site.

Members of the Brookfield-Elm Grove Interfaith Network, which has endorsed the project, attended the gathering as a show of support.

“People were afraid of us, too, when we first moved here in 1961,” said the Rev. Suzelle Lynch of the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield.

Much of the rancor had abated by the end, with some residents inviting the Muslim leaders to host a local forum and asking that copies of the Qur’an be sent to local churches.

“My question is about what’s being taught there,” said Swannie Tess. “I’m 80 years old, and I’ll be dead in 10 years, but I have children and grandchildren growing up.”

Tess said she’d like to hear more in a different, less-charged setting.

“I thought it was a good exchange,” said Quereshi. “It started out a little bumpy, but by the end, people were having a good conversation.”

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  • Ilisha

    @Rehman

    Free speech should be a protected right. The US model is admirable in this regard, I think.

  • Rehman

    @Ilisha
    Ok so I get that you guys are ok with apostasy. How about making clear your stance on the various laws of the OIC countries punishing the acts of criticizing islam or prophet Muhammed?

  • Ilisha

    @Rehman

    We just had a lengthy discussion about apostasy in the comments on this article:
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/03/message-to-iran-free-pastor-youcef-nadarkhani/

  • Rehman

    Do you guys agree with the state laws which exist in almost all the 57 OIC countries which bar/punish conversion out of Islam, preaching to Muslims and carry death punishments for criticizing Islam or Prophet Muhammed ? Serious question.

  • Lilly

    http://islamgreatreligion.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/fake-american-quran-author-exposed-in-prison-for-arson/ Hey… I remember this was being distributed to students when I was in Kuwait!!

  • Lilly

    Augustinus – Dear Fellow Human, You really should know better than to attack one side of the coin without looking at the other. I do not know if you live in America, but I live in a very liberal state and I’m not even allowed to have a private place to pray. Yes… the Christian students have their public prayers, I have no idea about the Jewish students… But, even when the Islamic student population petitions for prayer space (even when we wanted it to be open to ALL RELIGIONS, We were even gathering books from a lot of different organizations for the room, we just wanted a private place to pray), it is shot down by the Christian student organizations…

    Yes, I ramble… but the point is… Christian dominated places seem to not be bigots for denying Muslims to have their places of worship, but if a Muslim dominated place does the same… ohhh, we are the WORST!

  • Augustinus

    How’s this for real bigotry:

    http://www.arabianbusiness.com/destroy-all-churches-in-gulf-says-saudi-grand-mufti-450002.html

    Destroy all churches in Gulf, says Saudi Grand Mufti

    The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction.

    Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, stressed that since the tiny Gulf state was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, it was necessary to destroy all of the churches in the country, Arabic media have reported.

    Saudi Arabia’s top cleric made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom. He is also the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.

    A Kuwaiti parliamentarian said last month he wanted to ban the construction of churches and non-Islamic places of worship in the Gulf state. MP Osama Al-Munawer announced on Twitter he planned to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country.

    He later clarified that existing churches should remain but the construction of new non-Islamic places of worship should be banned.

  • crow

    I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily republican, but more right wing and probably fundamontalist Christians, they usually use hate and ignorace as their guide.

  • Dawood

    @Aspie and Atheist: In a word, no. The Qur’an mentions 4 witnesses being required for proving adultery/fornication, but rape is something entirely different. The sad thing is that some modern Muslim nation states conflate the two (rape and fornication/adultery), which leads to many injustices directed towards women!

    If you are interested in this topic, there is a great academic article written by Asifa Quraishi, which is available for viewing and download here. Focusing on the sad situation in Pakistan, she shows convincingly that the crime of rape was (and should therefore be today!) treated in Islamic law as a type of forceful theft of the woman’s right to sexual autonomy, and is therefore punishable similarly as theft, ‘highway robbery’ (hiraba) and so on, with also the option of compensation for the victim paid by the perpetrator.

  • Aspie and Atheist

    Question to Muslims: Is it true the Koran requires four witnesses in the case of rape and punishes the rape victim if they did things which could possibly be interpreted to incite the rape?

    Thanks.

  • Aspie and Atheist

    Islamophobes, in their relentless crusade to stop mosques from being built, they typically caim that it will disrupt traffic or something. This isn’t a valid excuse and the bigotry behind it is simply unacceptable.

    Conservatives should just go away and establish a separate country like in the Rocky Mts. Then we progressives could restore and reform this country.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    @Emperor

    I really hope this Muslims bashing goes out of style soon. Hopefully most people will begin to realize how ridiculous this is, not to mention harmful. At least 90% of the time when people like this claim to see extremism in the Muslim community, there’s actually nothing there.

  • revenge

    If conservatives want to stop a “Tyrannical ideology”, maybe they should look to the so-called “Christian” legislators across the U.S. who are forcing women to give up birth control, forcing invasive ultrasounds, etc…

  • mindy1

    Arrgghh this is why republicans are losing people-rather than focusing on legit issues, they focus on this stuff-LET THEM BE!!! As for the interfaith people kudos to them :D

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