Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Armed militia's protest threat cancels meeting that was expected to green-light Georgia mosque

A protester calling himself Johnny Infidel holds the Koran
and an assault weapon (Covington News photo by Bryan Fazio)
Officials in Covington, Ga., canceled a meeting Tuesday that was expected to result in approval of a controversial mosque, after an armed militia posted a video on social media threatening a protest, Bryan Fazio reports for The Covington News. The mosque had drawn opposition from many in the town of 600, who had called Muslims terrorists and abusers of women.

Despite cancellation of the meeting, the armed militia, Georgia Security Force III%, protested outside the meeting's location, Fazio reports: "The protest consisted of rhetoric against Islam, Muslims and the group Council on American-Islamic Relations being shouted through a bullhorn by a man calling himself Johnny Infidel, armed with an AR-15 rifle." The group's leader, Chris Hill, said at a press conference: “I’m not against freedom of religion. [The Koran] is text suggesting doing things that are not peaceful.”

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At the meeting, the Newton County Board of Commissioners "was to hear from county staff on creating a new zoning classification for large developments of community impact. Several Newton County commissioners also were expected to vote to lift a moratorium that was imposed on permits for places of worship during an Aug. 16 meeting, shortly after the mosque came to light. However, Monday afternoon the meeting was cancelled due to safety precautions stemming from the group’s social-media activity." 

County Manager Lloyd Kerr said in a statement: “In this case, a self-made video circulated on social media of a militia group from a neighboring county may have been trespassing on private property, and exhibiting harassing or violent behavior. Unfortunately in today’s society, uncivil threats or intentions must be taken seriously."

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