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Brookfield Mosque Backers Parry Volley of Questions

19 March 2012 General 14 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

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.”

Original post: Brookfield mosque backers parry volley of questions

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14 Comments »

  1. So who in the world ever says that they are promoting extremism, or sharia taking over the country, or insults and threatens US non muslims – all those things muslims used to say real loud back in the 90s and now publicly never do?

    Afraid of the Unitarians? Unitarians live in a fantasy world, they’ll say anything. Do anything too, probably.

  2. Smh…I hope all these people educate themselves one day.

  3. If anyone asks you questions about Islam, I have found 3 good websites that are clear and people can read them at their own pace:
    http://www.islam-guide.com/
    http://quran.com/
    http://www.sharia101.org/

  4. what matters is what they say now. we could go one for years listing the atrocities committed in the past by different denominations of each religion. However, the majority of Muslims and Muslim religious leaders in the US today are moderate, peaceful, and American citizens with all the rights that entails. So give them a break.

    Unitarians are essentially spiritualists, with a very vague concept of the divine. Nothing wrong with that.

  5. I’m proud to know Othman Atta, and ashamed to share Wisconsin with vicious and idiotic people like Spiewak; but also glad that Othman and Ahmed were able to persuade a lot of those present to see through the prejudice that was being peddled.

  6. I wonder if I can use this approach to prevent any more megachurches being built near me.

  7. “Love thy neighbor” “judge ye not lest ye be judged” but “cast ye not pearls to pigs” be nice and there will be idiots in all groups may compassion rule.

  8. Just a guess but I think the users will be Moslem.

  9. I don’t want a whabbie mosque built near my area

  10. Brainwashed Dipshits in that town

  11. You may sidestep the fact that Islam and the muslims are entangled in violent projects and politics and promoting theocratic dreams but others won’t. Separate religion and state.

  12. it is separate. Islam has no power in the US government, and never will. This is the same kind of BS that people said about Catholics wanting the US to be controlled by the Pope, or Jews trying to control the world economy. Islam is is a religion, ad like most religions is fragmented into various sects, each person interpreting it differently, and with no unified earthly goal. It is completely illogical to treat them as some monolithic, unified force engaged in some single goal that each and every one is working towards. I’d be more afraid of radicals like Santorum making us a theocracy than a bunch of people that are just trying to build a place of worship. People came to America because they thought it was a nice place to live, just like almost every single immigrant before them. why could they try and change it? The threat of Islamization is fabricated from xenophobia and scapegoating like every other ethnically and religiously themed conspiracy theory before it. I pray that this country reverses this course of hatred before it goes down in the history books next to Nazi Germany or 15th century Spain in the persecution and fear-driven hysteria department.

  13. I don’t think they’re going to islamize US either. I think of the muslims not as a monolith, but as a tribal group which supports a violent faction.

    This faction kills/attacks whatever isn’t the tribe. This faction gangs up and commits massacres. This faction wants to carve out a territorial space for itself, maintaining separate laws, customs etc. and kill whomever.

    Similar to the Italians containing the mafia. Most are not in it and deplore it, but there it is.

  14. If you strip away the self righteous platitudes, the function of the muslims is to eliminate non muslims and the wrong kind of muslims and to seize land and power.

    Islam/the muslims are not here to make nice with everybody.

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