Unacceptable Bias: Challenging Inclusion of Islamophobic Bias in Government Hearings

Steps of City Hall Press Conference

On Thursday, April 7, a coalition of civil and immigrant rights, Muslim and interfaith organizations held a news conference on the steps of New York City Hall to challenge shocking anti-Islam and anti-immigrant bias inserted into regular New York State Senate Committee hearings this week.

On Friday, the New York Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs will hold the all day hearing at its office in New York City entitled “Reviewing our Preparedness: An Examination of New York’s Public Protection Ten Years After September 11.” Scheduled speakers include the very controversial Nonie Darwish, Ed Kowalski, and Frank Gaffney and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) who recently chaired Congressional Hearings of a similar nature.

See: Homeland Security Hearing 10 Years After 9-11 
http://tinyurl.com/5slyolu

Press Conference 4/7/11


On Wednesday April 5, 2011 the coalition will issue a letter to the State Senate Committee from over 75 organizations and community leaders deploring the inappropriate addition of “Sharia Law” discussion into routine Homeland Security discussion; the virulently anti-immigrant agenda of some of the speakers; the exclusion of balancing perspectives from the community and from mainstream academic sources; and the overall politicization of disaster preparedness policy making.

The coalition applauds lawmakers State Senators Tony Avella and Kevin Parker, Adriano Espaillat, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Liz Krueger, Velmanette Montgomery, Jose Peralta, Bill Perkins, Gustavo Rivera, Diane Savino, and Andrea Stewart-Cousins who have already written statements sharing our concerns and look forward to others speaking out against the witch hunt approach to community security.

The coalition remains concerned, however, that unlike the King Hearings this Senate Committee has no plan to balance testimony with bipartisanship and testimony from representative voices from immigrant and Muslim leadership.

Immigrant Rights activist Betsy Palmieri stated: “The upcoming tenth anniversary of the terror attack should be a time of healing as well as preparedness. The targeting of vulnerable immigrant and religious communities does not fit this spirit of inclusiveness and makes partnership more difficult. I ask my State Senator Ball to stop demonizing immigrants in the name of security.”

Added Elaine Brower, Peace Action of Staten Island and Coalition to Stop Islamophobia member, and mother of a veteran of three combat tours; “What happened to us on September 11, 2011 cannot be blamed on the American Muslim communities and targeting this religion as a homeland security threat is not only unconstitutional but immoral.”

Added press conference co-organizer Adem Carroll, as organizer of the Muslim Progressive-Traditionalist Alliance: “The terrible repercussions of the burning of the Quran this past week are yet another reminder that hate speech and defamation can and do perpetuate a cycle of violence.”

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Counter-Protesting the Islamophobes in Brooklyn

 

Banner at Voorhies Avenue Counter-Protest

 

On Sunday, March 13th members from the NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia joined with many residents of Sheepshead Bay in a counter-protest in front of the construction site of the new Voorhies Avenue Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center.  About sixty people from the local Muslim community, who organized this gathering, were joined by those who stood in solidarity and support of their right to build which has been hotly contested since it’s proposal last year. 

On the other side of the street gathered people who have been fighting this construction since the planning begun.  There were some members of the community, however, they were joined by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, both of whom have been earning quite a few million dollars by preaching fearmongering and hatred of all Muslims.  Also in attendance was the usual “Bob the construction worker” who wears his same hard-hat with the American flag since he began on his hate mission against the Park51 Center in downtown Manhattan. 

It is great the the Muslim community came out in force to denounce their persecution and yell to those who would bully them “shame on you!”

Photos from Rich Marini from Sunday, March 13th rally in Sheepshead Bay:

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=richardjmarini&target=ALBUM&id=5583758433953436033&authkey=Gv1sRgCPTew8W10YmCkQE&feat=email

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SUNDAY, MARCH 13: JOIN US TO OPPOSE HATE RALLY IN SHEEPSHEAD BAY!

NYC COALITION TO STOP ISLAMOPHOBIA
JOINS THE LOCAL MUSLIM COMMUNITY TO

SUPPORT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SHEEPSHEAD BAY MOSQUE/COMMUNITY CENTER

When: Sunday, March 13, 2011
ARRIVAL TIME: 12 noon

Where: Voorhies Avenue Between E. 28th and E. 29th Streets
Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn

Join a diverse coalition of New Yorkers, led by the local Sheepshead Bay Muslim Community, for a rally in support of the continuing construction of the Sheepshead Bay Mosque/Community Center. Once again the anti-Muslim forces led by BayPeople Inc. plan to protest the construction of the Voorhies Avenue Mosque.

AND ONCE AGAIN we plan to wholeheartedly show our support for our Muslim sisters and brothers. We support the right of every person to practice their religion freely and oppose all attempts to demonize and defame New York’s Muslim, Arab and Asian communities.

We stand together as one borough and one city. This comes at a time when the Peter King hearings have caused more fearmongering throughout the country!

Stand with us as we say NO to anti-Muslim bigotry in Brooklyn and in all of New York!

Signs will be available but please feel free to bring your own.

Directions: (Q train to to Sheepshead Bay/East 16 Street then walk 12 blocks along Voorhies Ave.
No B train on the weekend.
B36 bus to Avenue Z and East 28th Street, then walk down East 28th to Voorhies)

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Voorhies+Avenue+and+E.+28th+and+Street,+brooklyn,+ny&sll=40.660856,-73.966476&sspn=0.39274,0.867233&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Voorhies+Ave+%26+E+28th+St,+Brooklyn,+Kings,+New+York+11235&ll=40.587071,-73.937259&spn=0.024573,0.054202&z=15&iwloc=A

Contact us at: coalitiontostopislamophobia@gmail.com

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ANNOUNCEMENT: PLANNING MEETING TO PROTEST PETER KING

Congressman Peter King (NY-3) as the Committee Chair of Homeland Security is commencing hearings on March 9th to “Examine the Threat of Islamic Radicalization”. In a press release King states that:
“..the Committee will continue to examine the threat of Islamic radicalization, and I will not allow political correctness to obscure a real and dangerous threat to the safety and security of the citizens of the United States.”

What King is conducting is a “witchhunt” similar to that which was done by Joe McCarthy when he targeted people all over the Country who were believed to be communists trying to subvert the safety and security of the citizens of the United States.

If you are deeply concerned by the commencement of these hearings and what it will do to further the fearmongering and perpetuation of islamophobia which has led to the hateful targeting of Muslims and Arabs, and feeds the flames of war in the middle east, then come to a planning meeting to discuss future protests, rallies, pickets and demonstrations to take place not only in front of his offices in Long Island, but in Washington, D.C. when the hearings start.

Our first meeting will be held at:
Chelsea Studios
151 West 26th Street, NY 10001 (212) 924-5877
On
Tuesday, February 22nd
From
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Please RSVP to: stopislamophobia@gmail.com
Spread the word! Come and stand on the side of peace and justice
BRING YOUR FRIENDS.

sponsored by: NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia

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December 10th Forum Video of the Event

Nima Shirazi, Lynne Jackson, Lamis Deek, Pardiss Kabraei

VIDEO LOCATION: http://politube.org/show/3107 - 1 hour 57 min

The Violation of Human Rights: The “War on Terror” Continues at Home and Abroad
A Forum and Discussion, at Judson Memorial Church, NewYork, NY

Attendees

NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia presented a panel discussion on Friday, December 10th, about how fear and anti-Muslim bigotry is mobilized to enable political prosecution, entrapment, targeted assassinations, indefinite and abusive detentions, and unjust occupations of Muslim & Arab countries, while at home we face the rise in Islamophobia. Hear speakers who will present different perspectives, from attorneys to activists.

Speakers:
Pardiss Kebriaei, staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, is challenging the Obama administration’s targeted assassination order on Anwar Al-Aulaqi, an American citizen residing in Yemen, in a lawsuit filed by CCR and the ACLU. Ms. Kebriaei will discuss this case, as well as the arguments presented by the Obama administration to prevent judicial review of the case.

Pardiss Kabraei

Lamis J. Deek, is an attorney and human rights advocate specializing in defending Arab & Muslim community members, activists and organizers against governmental attack. Lamis is a long time member of Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the Arab Muslim American Federation, and the National Lawyers Guild. She is co-founder of the US Palestine Community Network.

Lamis Deek

Lynne Jackson, is a volunteer, president and one of the founders of Project SALAM – a group that believes hundreds of innocent Muslims were targeted, prosecuted, and convicted in the hysteria following 9/11 using the FBI’s and the Justice Dept. new paradigm of prevention. Ms. Jackson will identify tactics used in preemptive prosecution, discuss cases prosecuted in the federal courts, and their effect and excessive sentences on families; also she will discuss recent trial & conviction of the Newburgh 4.

Lynne Jackson

Nima Shirazi is a political commentator from New York City. He is a contributing columnist for Foreign Policy Journal and Palestine Think Tank. His analysis of United States policy and Middle East issues, particularly with reference to current events in Iran, Israel, and Palestine, can also be found in numerous other online and print publications, as well as his website, WideAsleepInAmerica.com.

Sponsored by: Al-Awda NY, Project Salam, Movement for a Democratic Society, UNAC, World Can’t Wait, IJAN

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December 10th Forum & Discussion: The Violation of Human Rights

The Violation of Human Rights: The “War on Terror” Continues at Home and Abroad
A Forum and Discussion
Friday, December 10th
7 pm – 9 pm
Judson Memorial Church, Assembly Hall
239 Thompson Street, Washington Sq. Park South
New York, NY

[A, B, C, D, E, F, M to W.4 St.; #1 to Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.; PATH to 9th St.; N, R to 8 St.-NYU; #6 to Astor Pl.]

Join the NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia on Friday, December 10th, for an eye-opening panel presentation and open discussion about how fear and anti-Muslim bigotry is mobilized to enable political prosecution, entrapment, targeted assassinations, indefinite and abusive detentions, and unjust occupations of Muslim & Arab countries, while at home we face the rise in Islamophobia. Hear speakers who will present different perspectives, from attorneys to activists.

Speakers:
Pardiss Kebriaei,staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, is challenging the Obama administration’s targeted assassination order on Anwar Al-Aulaqi, an American citizen residing in Yemen, in a lawsuit filed by CCR and the ACLU. Ms. Kebriaei will discuss this case, as well as the arguments presented by the Obama administration to prevent judicial review of the case.

Lamis J. Deek, is an attorney and human rights advocate specializing in defending Arab & Muslim community members, activists and organizers against governmental attack. Lamis is a long time member of Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the Arab Muslim American Federation, and the National Lawyers Guild. She is co-founder of the US Palestine Community Network.

Lynne Jackson, is a volunteer, president and one of the founders of Project SALAM – a group that believes hundreds of innocent Muslims were targeted, prosecuted, and convicted in the hysteria following 9/11 using the FBI’s and the Justice Dept. new paradigm of prevention. Ms. Jackson will identify tactics used in preemptive prosecution, discuss cases prosecuted in the federal courts, and their effect and excessive sentences on families; also she will discuss recent trial & conviction of the Newburgh 4.

Nima Shirazi, is a political commentator from New York City. He is a contributing columnist for Foreign Policy Journal and Palestine Think Tank. His analysis of United States policy and Middle East issues, particularly with reference to current events in Iran, Israel, and Palestine, can also be found in numerous other online and print publications, as well as his website, WideAsleepInAmerica.com.

SPONSORS: Al-Awda NY, IJAN, Movement for a Democratic Society, Project Salam, UNAC, World Can’t Wait,

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Successful Counter-Demonstration at ACT! For America City Hall Conference

Counter-protest at City Hall on 11/18


By Elaine Brower:

About 10 of us showed up today at City Hall to counter-protest the anti-Islam hate group ACT! For America, or as Larry’s sign said ASS! For America.

Mike & Richie


Four of us went into the City Hall area and stood on the steps with them, while the rest of our group stood on the sidewalk in front of City Hall with posters, flyering the crowd, and chanting. We milled around prior to disrupting the press conference, and got a flyer spouting the usual hatred of Islam. Pretty bad stuff. The usual islamophobic speeches and angry people. We handed out our flyers, about 200 in all to the passing crowd out on the street side of City Hall, while the four of us went to the press conference.

Larry Rockwood outside City Hall


I made 2 poster size signs that had our usual slogans pasted on them ‘WE SAY NO TO RACIST FEAR, MUSLIMS ARE WELCOME HERE!” We hid them until the press conference started, and climbed up on the steps right behind the speakers, alongside the organizers and some other wackos. No one had any idea what our signs said. It took them about 5 minutes to actually focus on the words!

The press took photos, and that’s when everyone turned around and started yelling at us. “Their not with us!” One of the organizers of the press conference, a woman, don’t know who she was, but all prim and proper, came to me and said “you must leave here. You are not invited.” I said “these are my City Hall steps too. I can stay here.” She was red-faced. At that point Richie was being carted off by police, and he was yelling “bigots!”

In front of City Hall on 11/18


Richie said: Two of four police officers that escorted me out as I was screaming actually thanked me. One said “thank you” and the other said “thanks for doing that”. One of the officers at gate gave me a dirty look. A few minutes later two tanned skin gentlemen tried to walk in the gate and the dirty look officer started giving them a bit of a hard time and the officer that thanked me (who I guess out ranked him) told him to let them through.

Mike was standing next to me, and we were just ignoring the snears and orders to leave the premises.

At that point the organizers called the police over and they told us we had to move off the steps. So we stood there a little longer and said ok. Then they said “now!” And we said “ok.” And didn’t move. Of course our hostess with the mostest was red faced and told the press not to start filming, but it was already too late. Then some other big burly guys came over and said we HAD TO LEAVE, WE WERE NOT INVITED!

By this time about 15 minutes had gone by, I made my way down the steps. The police immediately surrounded Mike and he walked out of the City Hall area with them. They carted Mike off physically, with his feet barely touching the ground.

Mike after being kicked out


Todd was remaining off to the side just watching the event. Under his arm he had one of our signs, but it went unnoticed for a short time. Todd said: “Yeah I went inside and bumped into an action-friendly photographer acquaintance from The Villager newspaper. I discreetly pointed out Elaine & Richie to the photograper, but tried not to be associated with the other three at first. Later once I saw how they kept letting Elaine stand there and debate and even give a sidelines interview, I got curious and visited. I accepted a smaller sign from her and walked away, not long before they finally escorted Elaine out. Pretty soon this one suit-cop started leaning on me, waiting for an incident to pounce. The speaker said something about Imam Rauf being “swarthy”. Then i finally held up my sign and was instantly told to leave. I cooperated with the suit-cops slowly while hollering loudly, during the fairly long escorted walk out.
Videographers didn’t seem interested but at least we got in a third disruption.”

I was standing there with my back to the police and holding my sign, when a reporter came over to speak with me. Another 10 minutes went by and I gave him an interview. The police were not happy with that. But they weren’t angry, they were pretty cordial. Until some asshole, who was probably a signatory on the hate petition they were delivering to Bloomberg, started getting in my face and yelling at me. He had a nice tan too! I told him that. He said they would arrest me. I said fine. And remained there. Then a few more “nice” city hall police, one of which I happen to know from doing so many press conferences at city hall, begged me to leave. He literally pushed the angry cop away and begged me to move. I said I had every right to be there and wasn’t leaving.

He begged me some more. He pleaded with me and explained that if we wanted to hold a press conference, he would escort anyone who interrupted us off the premises. I said I wasn’t interrupting, I was just standing there, they were yelling, not me. I told them that if I didn’t have to go back to work, I wouldn’t move and they would have to arrest me. He said they weren’t going to arrest me, but I walked off anyway. We had already caused a scene, and pissed off the haters enough to interrupt their press conference. We also got in some good, energetic chanting outside, plus leafleting.

Here’s one of the stories from the press:

Downtown Ground Zero Mosque Opponents Present Petition
By Julie Shapiro
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LOWER MANHATTAN — Opponents of the Park51 mosque and community center took to the steps of City Hall Thursday morning to reignite interest in their cause and unveil a 120,000-signature petition.

“We are not going away,” shouted former firefighter Tim Brown, a 9/11 first responder who sued the city over Park51. “We are continuing to grow. This is not about the election. We are here after the election and we will start this again.”

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20101118/downtown/ground-zero-mosque-opponents-present-120000strong-petition#ixzz15kSBCKkh

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SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION!

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/csia/

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Nov 10th Forum: Living As a Muslim in the United States

Living As a Muslim in the United States:  2010 & Beyond
A Forum and Discussion

Wednesday, November 10th
7 pm – 9 pm

West End Theater
in the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew
263 West 86th Street (off West End Ave.)

Join the NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia on Wednesday, November 10th for an eye-opening panel presentation and open discussion about living as a Muslim in the US.  Hear speakers who will present different perspectives, from educator to activist.

Nima Shirazi is a political commentator from New York City.  He is a contributing columnist for Foreign Policy Journal and Palestine Think Tank.  His analysis of United States policy and Middle East issues, particularly with reference to current events in Iran, Israel, and Palestine, can also be found in numerous other online and print publications, as well as his website, WideAsleepInAmerica.com.

Muntasir Sattar worked with Dr. Louis Cristillo for four years at Teachers College, Columbia University, on the major “Muslims in New York City” study, funded by the Ford Foundation (publications forthcoming). He also is a coordinator for South Asian Youth Action. He will introduce the book “This is Where I Need to Be: Oral Histories of Muslim Youth in NYC”–two dozen real-life stories–and accompanying curriculum units with full lesson plans suitable for grades 6-12.

Faisal Alam is a gay Pakistani American who founded the Al-Fatiha (“The Opening”) Foundation, an international advocacy group for gay, lesbian, and transgender Muslims. The youngest member of the National Religious Leaders Roundtable convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, he also was honored as one of 40 Heroes Under 40 for his human-rights and HIV/AIDS-prevention work.

More info at Facebook Event: http://goo.gl/vJRov

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The Indypendent Covers Sheepshead Bay Mosque Controversy

http://www.indypendent.org/2010/10/25/a-mosque-grows-in-brooklyn/

The Indypendent – A Mosque Grows in Brooklyn

Elaine Brower (left) a member of the New York City Coalition to Stop Islamophobia, has been organizing support from the proposed mosque and the Muslim and Arab communities. John Press (right), the head of the Brooklyn Tea Party, has been protesting the proposed mosque, calling Islam a 'hostile doctrine.'

Elaine Brower (left) a member of the New York City Coalition to Stop Islamophobia, has been organizing support from the proposed mosque and the Muslim and Arab communities. John Press (right), the head of the Brooklyn Tea Party, has been protesting the proposed mosque, calling Islam a ‘hostile doctrine.’

When a mosque and Islamic community center in Sheepshead Bay were formally proposed in the summer of 2009, the estimated 200 Muslim families living in the south Brooklyn neighborhood greeted the news happily. For many years, they’ve had to travel to mosques in Bensonhurst, Canarsie and Bay Ridge.

But the proposed three-story project at 2812 Voorhies Ave., which was approved Oct. 13 by the Department of Buildings, is now facing a storm of opposition, some of it from outside the community.  The main opposition group, a group of local residents called Bay People Inc., has mobilized since the beginning of this year to oppose the mosque for a number of reasons, including concerns over increased traffic, parking problems, noise and property values.

But Bay People, Inc., as well as other opponents, also have an agenda aligned with anti-Muslim groups and individuals that have been stoking opposition to mosques around the city and country.  On its website, Bay People states that, “the neighborhood residents are mostly of Italian/Russian/Jewish/Irish descent and will not benefit from having a mosque and a Muslim community center.”  In addition, the group is opposed to the Muslim American Society’s (MAS) affiliation with the project, claiming that MAS is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and has links to radical Islam and terrorism.  (Rep. Michael McMahon, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a probe into MAS, which concluded that there was “no indication whatsoever that the Muslim American Society is affiliated with any organization that threatens our national security,” according to the Staten Island Advance.)

MAS has partnered with the local Muslim community to back the center, which in addition to having a prayer space will also have English as a second language classes, computer classes and workforce development programs.  Those closely involved with the proposed project say the focus will be on providing youth in the community with a positive place to go, but that it will be open to anyone.

“What they’re trying to do is put up all these smoke-screens to propagate fear in that community to not allow the [Muslim] community to build, and it’s absolutely unjust…for them to basically try to monopolize Sheepshead Bay and make it a Muslim free-zone,” said Debbie Almontaser, a prominent Muslim interfaith activist.  Almontaser is the board chair for the Muslim Consultative Network, which has been working with the local Muslim community in Sheepshead Bay to combat the opposition.  “If you look at the history of this community, there are churches, there are synagogues, and now it’s time to have a mosque.”

Bay People claims to have raised $30,000 to “fund a legal strategy to block the mosque by arguing it violates zoning laws and will create noise and traffic problems on the quiet block,” according to a June 30 Daily News article.

Backers of the mosque say that concerns over logistical issues have been addressed and that the opposition stems from anti-Muslim bigotry.  Parking problems will not increase because most families live in walking distance and the early morning call-to-prayer for Muslims won’t be broadcast outside, they say.  Theresa Scavo, the chairperson of Community Board 15, which serves Sheepshead Bay, dismissed concerns over traffic problems, saying that in New York City, “traffic is everywhere.”

The local community board has no formal say over the project, although they have held hearings about it.  “They have every right to build it,” said Scavo.

John Press, the head of the Brooklyn Tea Party, which protested alongside Bay People at a September 26 rally against the proposed mosque, didn’t shy away from opposing the mosque based on anti-Muslim sentiment, calling Islam a “hostile political doctrine.”

“We recognize the importance of the ‘clash of civilizations,’ and the Muslim American Society is a proponent of sharia law.  We believe that sharia law is antithetical to Western freedoms,” said Press, who doesn’t live in Sheepshead Bay and said that “a few” Brooklyn Tea Party members do.

The claims about “sharia” law and Islam as a “political doctrine” echo similar claims from anti-Muslim activists actively working to oppose the construction of new mosques around the country from lower Manhattan to Tennessee to California.

“The opponents against the proposed mosque in Sheepshead Bay erroneously brushstroke the entire Muslim community as ‘the other’ based on misinformation and at times outright bigotry,” Aliya Latif, the civil rights director for the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, wrote in an email to the Indypendent.

Anti-Muslim accusations have been leveled by opponents of the mosque at a series of heated protests in the community, including a June 27 anti-mosque rally where one Sheepshead Bay resident threatened to “bomb the mosque” if it’s built, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

There have also been counter-protests to combat the opposition and to support the proposed project, like the one at a Sept. 26 rally that saw the dueling sides on two sides of Voorhies Ave.

“The day we were there, [Sept. 26], we arrived and we thought we went back to the 50’s.  There were signs all over people’s houses [reading] ‘Muslims go home,’” said Elaine Brower, an activist who lives in Staten Island and a member of the New York City Coalition to Stop Islamophobia, which has been organizing in support of the proposed mosque.  “If people don’t stand up against it in unity and show support for Muslims and Arabs in this country, it’s only going to get worse.”

Brower was also involved in supporting a proposed mosque in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island.  After a reverend initially entered into an agreement with MAS to sell a former parish convent to them so a mosque could be built, the board of St. Margaret Mary R.C. Church, which the reverend is a part of, withdrew support for the sale after about two months of harsh condemnation from local residents.  Like the Sheepshead Bay mosque controversy, residents cited concerns about parking and traffic as well as MAS’ alleged affiliation with links to terrorism.

Still, despite the vitriolic opposition to the Sheepshead Bay center, Allowey Ahmed, the owner of the property at 2812 Voorhies Ave., is moving forward with his plans.  Ahmed, a Yemeni-American and long-time Brooklyn resident, estimated that over $1 million in funds will need to be raised for the community center, and that he hopes construction will begin in the next few months.

“What is right is going to prevail,” said Ahmed.  “We believe we are on the right track, because we believe we are sending a good and positive message.”

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