The paranoia of Islamophobia has reached “Mashes Sands Beach, Wakullah County, Florida.” Love the reaction of Vanessa More, the Christian mother of one of the Muslim men praying in the picture: “Hatred only leads to more hate, so now are you going to make every Muslim carry a card that says, ‘I’m a good citizen, I’m not affiliated with ISIS, I just want to pray.’”
A photo taken by a Florida county commissioner of a group of men observing their Muslim faith has ignited a racist backlash that spilled over into a recent government meeting, WTXL reports.
The photo was taken at Mashes Sands Beach in Wakulla County by county commission chairman Ralph Thomas and posted to his Facebook page with the caption, “Walked up on this at Mashes Sands this evening! First time seeing this in Wakulla County.” The photo has sparked an emotional storm that has included death threats.
“I’m raising the question of whether or not a group of military aged Muslim men… are praying on our beach, well label me whatever you want,” said Wakulla County Sheriff candidate Will Dance, according to WTXL. “The reason I brought this up is because my daughters use that beach, my wife uses that beach and gentlemen, under Sharia Law, the cutoff shorts and tee-shirts… that my family wears on that beach are considered offensive under Sharia and any Muslim man may carry out what he feels is fit punishment. And I’m sorry but that type of behavior cannot happen here.”
Muslim leader Imam Amro was interviewed by WTXL and assured people that in general, no Muslim would retaliate against anyone not wearing modest clothes because it’s none of their business.
“A sick brain, then you will find it in Islam and in Christianity, in any religion there is a sick brain, but this is something else,” he said. He also pointed out that Sharia is a divine religious law that is not forced on people who don’t know what it is or don’t want it.
Devout Muslims pray five times a day facing Mecca, which is what the picture seems to portray. Responses on Thomas’s post show a great deal of fear at what appears to be nothing more than routine prayer.
Vanessa Moore is the mother of one of the men who happened to be at the beach and was caught in the photo. She says her 29-year-old son never expected to attract attention and worried about the implications of the anti-Muslim hate on display.
“He never wanted to be in anyone’s spotlight, he was just out there, at a barbecue, praying,” she told WTXL. “Hatred only leads to more hate, so now are you going to make every Muslim carry a card that says, ‘I’m a good citizen, I’m not affiliated with ISIS, I just want to pray.’”