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Arizona: Islamophobes mistake church for mosque

In an era saturated with absurd moments of anti-Muslim fear- mongering, mosques have become a touchstone for Islamophobia. Even unbuilt mosques have set off a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in Tennessee, Texas, California, and most notably, New York.

Not to be outdone, the people of Pheonix, AZ were quick to call foul over the appearance of a dome-like structure along an interstate. But in the clamor over the impending Muslim takeover, these Arizonans missed one small detail – the building is not a Mosque, it’s a church:

A new dome-like structure near 19th Avenue along Interstate 10 in Phoenix is the Light of the World church, a nondenominational Christian church hoping to modernize traditional worship services, a church spokesman said

Since the distinctive dome shape went up, church leaders said they have received phone calls from concerned neighbors who’ve mistaken the building for an Islamic mosque.

On Wednesday, church officials hung a sign reminding people they’re a Christian congregation. “We’re trying to let people know that we’re Christian and our churches are modern,” said Uzieo Martinez.

“It is unfortunate that people are so intolerant to differences that they aren’t willing to see that the place of worship is not a mosque,” said Tayyibah Amatullah of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Arizona chapter. But with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace?

Tanya Somanader at Think Progress, 15 November 2010

Original post: Arizona: Islamophobes mistake church for mosque

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4 Comments »

  1. I drive past this building every day. I was sad to find out that it wasn’t a mosque. Honestly, I think it would open a much needed dialogue. I did have to laugh when I saw the sign posted on it, as I drove past on Saturday… I laughed because the ignorance evidenced by the need for the sign made me want to cry.

  2. Amen, Barbara! We Jews have had to put up with a similar attitude – NIMBY – for decades, even as recently as 10 yrs ago in the Atlanta area! The only difference is that it was a different kind of ignorance, flat-out hate rather than fear, but with similar results. Vandalism of the site, racial slurs, swastikas, etc. So sad that a handful of know-nothings have repeated so many lies for so long that more & more people are perceiving it as the truth.

  3. I think we need to remember that it really doesn’t matter whether or not the building is a mosque – the problem here is the fact that people are behaving as if it were legal and ethical to prohibit places of worship.

  4. Isn’t it sad that anything different is either ridiculed or reviled. Why should someone have to hang a sign saying “we’re Christiain”. I’m sure Jesus would weep, he was so against bigotry in any form, as were other religous reformers.

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