Jerry Gordon’s recent article published in The Iconoclast describing the pending confrontation between citizens of Murfreesboro, TN on the expansion of an Islamic cultural center is significant for all of us. As we learn the purposes and the supporters behind the cultural centers this or a similar battle is replayed in from Ground Zero to Murfreesboro and back again.
The Iconoclast – Monday, 12 July 2010
“Allahu Akbar” or “Allah is the Greater”
The battle cry of Jihad inscribed on a Murfreesboro home.
It looks like a confrontation is building for Wednesday’s dueling protest and counter protest marches in Murfreesboro over the controversial approval of the 52,000 square foot expansion of the Islamic Center by the Rutherford County Planning Commission (RCPC). I spoke with Jay Heine, campaign manager for GOP Congressional candidate, Lou Ann Zelenik, (6th -TN) who indicated that following Sunday’s planning session by the counter-protesters at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) her campaign posters had been torn down. But there was more.
Note this comment from Heine in this Nashville WSMV Channel Four story, “Swastikas, ‘Fascist’ Painted on Campaign Signs”:
Campaign workers found out about the defaced signs Sunday. They filed a report with Murfreesboro police.“She is very disappointed that people, you know, would do this kind of behavior. It’s very disheartening to see that in a political campaign,” said Jay Heine, Zelenik’s campaign manager.”
This isn’t the first time Zelenik has had to call police. Last month, she received death threats at her campaign office and at home after she issued a statement about the proposed Islamic Center in Rutherford County.
“This Islamic Center is not part of a religious movement; it is a political movement designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee,” Zelenik wrote in a statement.
Watch this WSMV Video concerning Zelenik’s campaign posters defaced with Swastikas and the word ‘Fascist” scrawled across them.
Ms. Zelenik is expected to issue a news release reinforcing her previous position in opposition to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. She has raised questions about the alleged sources of funding for the ICM expansion. She has questioned the radical views of a board member based on investigations by Steven Emerson of The Investigative Project. She has also received a letter from Frank Gaffney’s Washington-based Center for Security Policy regarding investigation of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) for possible violations of the Federal Foreign Agent Registrations Act (FARA) based on major sources of Middle East funding. Nihad Awad, national CAIR head had requested Republican leaders ‘repudiate’ Zelenik for her opposition to the ICM project. The GOP leaders rejected the CAIR request, instead supporting Zelenik’s candidacy.
The purpose of the community protest march and rally was to sign petitions requesting that the RCPC re-open the approval hearings on the controversial expansion plans for the ICM. Fisher indicated he believes that the counter protest organizers may not have secured such permits.
This weekend, the Murfreesboro, Daily News Journal, opened up its Opinion page to ICM leader Saleh Sbetany, an engineering professor at MTSU, in a lengthy Q+A, “New Islamic center response to growth”. He suggested the controversy was a reflection of “misinformation and fear.” Sbetany didn’t quell those fears with his justification based on the extensive regional growth of the Muslim population in Middle Tennessee. This is a reflection of the US humanitarian immigration and resettlement policies that spawned it. Sbetany noted:
We need to explain something to the community. Murfreesboro and Tennessee are really moving along in terms of population. MTSU as a university has attracted many professionals and students as well, and many of these come from either Islamic countries or they were born and raised here in the United States. MTSU is growing, the health care industry is growing, and many of the doctors, the engineers and professionals, and they were either born outside the United States or were born to immigrant families. So we have a growing community that is a professional community … that’s basically why the Muslim population is growing.
Also, if you remember that because of the Iraq War and prior to the Iraq War, many of the refugees, Somalis, Iraqis, the national community, the Muslim community has been growing, and there are around 50,000 Muslims in the Nashville area. Many of them actually live around Nashville, in Murfreesboro, La Vergne or Smyrna. Many industries and professions in the area have been attracting nationally Muslims.
Sbetany was dismissive of community complaints about the lack of adequate public notice given by the RCPC about the ICM plans, a matter that prompted the upcoming Wednesday protest march:
There was more than adequate notice. First of all, right after we purchased the lot, we posted a sign: This is the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, and that was done in December. We bought the land, we closed in November, and we had a sign in December. We applied in May or late April. We did everything that we as an institution or an Islamic Center should do, based on the law, so the public notice was given and they did that with this site as any other site, accordingly May 2 that went into the Murfreesboro Post. … If this is not an Islamic Center, let’s say if this is a church, and the next church next to us was approved in the same way, how could that be that the church next to us was approved in a similar fashion?
At issue is what is known about the ICM and possible radical Muslim group connections, support of terrorist groups by a board member and denial of human rights for those who have left Islam by their own choice.
Witness this about the ICM in the weekly newsletter of the ACT! Middle Tennessee chapter:
1. 6 Pamphlets obtained at the ICM’s open house last week showed connections to the Muslim Brotherhood via theMuslim American Society, Ahmad Sakr, The Foundation for Islamic Thought, and The Institute of Islamic Information and Education.
The Institute of Islamic Information and Education is part of ISNA, or the Islamic Society of North America, which is part of the Muslim Brotherhood organization.
ISNA was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document –titled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” – as one of the Brotherhood’s likeminded “organizations of our friends” who shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation.
2. ICM uses the Muslim Brotherhood reading list.
3. ICM board member Mosaad Rawash supports violent jihad.
4. ICM leaders and its Imam are silent on requests by Former Muslims United that they sign pledges to allow Muslims to convert out of Islam to other religions and to disavow killing for apostasy.
5. ICM’s Imam and board organized a protest of IDF Operation Cast Lead in January 2009 in support of HAMAS, a terrorist organization. Watch the video.
Notice the shouts of “Allahu Akbar”. Allahu Akbar is a battle cry of Jihad. Phil Berg, Daniel Pearl, Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh, and the Ft. Hood victims were slaughtered to the shouts of Allahu Akbar.
6. Lou Ann Zelenik received death threats for opposing the ICM mosque complex.
7. The Rutherford Reader was pulled from local newspaper racks in retail outlets for alleged “hate speech” against Islam.
Is there likely to be a confrontation Wednesday afternoon in Mufreesboro in the dispute over alleged mishandling by the RCPC? Stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion.