It seems the anti-mosque protesters in California have torn a few pages from the Abu Ghraib field manual. Protesters of a planned mosque and Muslim community center in Riverside County, California are calling on locals to come to a rally outside an existing mosque with their pet dogs because, as the protest organizer says, Muslims “hate dogs.”
As the Valley News of Fallbrook reports, the leader of the anti-community center rally — who the paper does not name — has “been active with Republican and Tea Party functions” in the past. Recently, the activist distributed an email to area media outlets calling on those opposed to the construction of the Islamic Center in Temecula to come to a “one-hour ‘singing - praying - patriotic rally’” July 30 at the site of the town’s existing Islamic center, which local Muslims are trying to replace with new construction.
Details on the event, from the Valley News:
“We will not be submissive,” the notice proclaimed. “Our voices are going to be heard!” The alert went on to question what its authors described as Islamic beliefs. It suggested that participants sing during the rally because Muslim “women are forbidden to sing.” It suggested that rally participants bring dogs because Muslims “hate dogs.”
The Temecula Islamic Center is just one of many Muslim construction projects to draw fire from right-wing groups this year. Those protesting the California construction site include the pastor of a neighboring Baptist church who recently told the Los Angeles Times he was upset about the construction plan because the mosque and community center will turn the town into “a haven for Islamic extremists.”
The Valley News reports that despite the increasingly vitriolic protests, work on getting the Temecula mosque project underway is continuing apace:
“We are limited to looking at land use issues, not religious or political issues,” Patrick Richardson, the city’s director of planning and redevelopment, said in a Monday afternoon telephone interview. “Everybody has the right to practice their religion as they see fit.”