Friday, August 26, 2016

Rural Ga. residents protest planned mosque, call Muslims terrorists, rapists; say Islam not a religion

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About 600 residents in rural Covington, Ga., flocked to a pair of town-hall meetings this week to argue mostly against plans for a mosque in the town of 13,452. While some expressed concern about increased traffic and noise, most complaints had to do with perceptions of Muslim treatment of women and the notion that the religion preaches hate and violence.

"Many of the speakers straightforwardly denounced Islam for its supposed violence and extremism," reports The Economist. "They predicted that Covington was set to become a hell of violence and jihad, in which their families would no longer be safe." One speaker said, “They’ll kill Jews, Christians, anyone that don’t believe in Allah” and suggested people rip out errant pages in the Koran to prove their good intentions. Other statements included, “If you don’t believe like they do you get your head cut off,” Islam is “a death cult" and from the mouth of a female church minister, “This is not a religion."

Bryan Fazio of The Covington News reports that one speaker said, “I don’t want these people and these teachings in our community. Were you not watching your television on 9/11/ 01? Have we lost our minds? Have we lost our common sense here? I pray that almighty God fills your heart with common sense to make the right decision. Y’all represent us. Listen to us. We don’t want this here. We don’t want this here.”

Zach Ames of Covington was in the minority.
(Newton Citizen photo by Wade Marbaugh) 
Local resident Kenneth Morrell blamed plans for the mosque on destroying a pending deal he had to sell his house, Fazio writes. Morrell told him, “I would appreciate it if the media did not demonize this community because of their concern. There are a few questions I have that I would like to ask: is this mosque actually going to be opened up to the community to attend? Do they allow testimonies in their mosque? Would they be upset if I testify to the goodness of God and the grace of God? That’s church to us. Do they consider us to be old country and dumb folks without eyes and ears and brains?”

Alice Queen of the Newton Citizen reports that one speaker said, "All I know about Muslims is what the news reports stream out to us every day. They talk about ISIS and ISIS operatives, radical Islam, Islamic sleeper cells that are trying to get into our country … that’s all that we hear about Muslims, so it’s hard for folks like me, and probably most of you tonight, to draw the line between innocent Muslims and radical Muslims."

Another speaker said, “It’s not about worship. It is about a big development in our countryside that nobody knew about … If that would have happened with any other thing besides a religious organization, everybody would have known, we’ve have had a town meeting … what bothers me is I’m labeled a bigot just because I question it. That shouldn’t be.”

The Economist reports, "The basic permission for the mosque has already been granted. The commissioners have now imposed a moratorium on the construction of new places of worship, and progress could be delayed or derailed by withholding technical permits; but those sorts of ruses would likely fall foul of the courts."

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