Proposed US Mosque faces discriminating opposition
Muslim groups in the US have met with unpredictably intense opposition to their plan for opening mosques in the lower Manhattan , district in Brooklyn and lately in an empty convent on Staten Island
Excuses such as traffic and parking concerns have been cited however further probing have revealed that objections centred on more intangible and volatile issues which affiliate terrorism along with misgivings about Islam which run through the opponents’ mind
Yasmin Ammirato, president of the Midland Beach Civic Association, who organized a meeting in an effort to dispel tensions between both parties amidst, boos from among the 400 people who packed the hall called on the people to show some restraint. This happened after a question prompted by one guest hinted that all terrorists past and present had come out of a mosque hence the fear of establishing a new one in the neighbourhood.
However, the Muslim American Society, a nonprofit group has helped plant new mosques in communities throughout the country, where they have adopted a strategy of engagement which they believe will eventually build mutual understanding
In a statement Mahdi Bray, the society’s executive director has asserted that newcomers in America have always had to prove their loyalty, adding “It’s an old story. You have to have thick skin“. Another MAS spokesman said, “The community has been hijacked by Islamaphobes,”
The group released a statement pleading with the Catholic community to “do the right thing” It summarized their beliefs and hopes stressing they believe that the majority of Catholics does not share the view that people should be denied their religious and constitutional rights to build a house of worship simply because their faith tradition is different from the tradition of many of their neighbors. The call to resist prejudice and bigotry is both a moral and a spiritual imperative shared by all faiths. Sometimes it is difficult to face the hysteria of prejudice, yet this is exactly what all people of faith are called to do. And, despite this letter, we remain optimistic that our intention to build a place of worship in this community in Staten Island will be successful.
We believe this, because we believe that the goodness and decency of the American people will ultimately triumph over religious prejudice and fear.