Diane Macedo at Fox reports on creeping sharia in Tennessee. Plans to Build Massive Islamic Centers Raise Concerns in Tennessee
The Commercial Appeal said in a 2008 article that the Greater Memphis area was home to an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Muslims, and the Islamic Center of Nashville claims on its website that the number of Muslims in Nashville alone is estimated to be around 20,000. But neither mentions any source for those numbers.
Still, while the number of Muslims in Tennessee remains unclear, everyone agrees that it’s rising, and fast. And as the number of worshippers goes up, so does their desire for more and larger places of worship.
But critics say the Muslims who now call Tennessee home are looking to expand their places of worship far beyond their need. What’s more, they say, the organizations building the Islamic centers have provided no account for how they received the massive funding their projects require.
Of even greater concern, some critics say, are fears that a radical Islamic agenda may be behind the planning for these large Islamic centers.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro
With a 15-acre plot of land now in its possession, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro aims to create a full-service prayer center complete with not only a mosque, but outdoor sports fields, pavilions and playgrounds, educational facilities, a multi-purpose facility, a gym and a cemetery.
The goal, according to the center’s website, is “to improve the practice, knowledge and understanding of Islam among all people and elevate the image of Islam” by providing “correct information from accredited sources about Islam.”
But one of the center’s board members would also like to expand Islam through a holy war, according to his MySpace page.
Mosaad Rawash was suspended from the center’s board last month pending an investigation into allegations that he supports Hamas and radical Islam, after the Investigative Project on Terrorism unveiled controversial comments and photos it said were found on an old version of Rawash’s MySpace page.
According to the Investigative Project, a nonprofit research group aimed at investigating Islamic terrorist and extremist groups, the page included an Arabic pledge to join Palestinians in a holy war to reclaim their “right to Jerusalem.”
The page is said to have read: “I swear by God Exalted, that I shall remain faithful to the blood of the Martyrs devoted completely to the historical right, rejecting all types of concessions no matter how strong the pressures or great the sacrifices, pledging to God Almighty to help the Palestinian people in their steadfastness and Jihad until they realize the promise of God.”
A poem that was on the page reportedly referred to nations being labeled terrorists for simply defending themselves against people killing their families, adding “maybe I’d rather be called as such than die with shame…long live Palestine… Lebanon… Iraq…”
The page also had a picture honoring Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin and Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi, the Investigative Project reported.
The MySpace profile has been changed, but the Tennessean newspaper reported seeing the posts last month and that Rawash, when contacted by the paper, said simply that his MySpace page had been inactive for some time.
The postings were removed from the profile that afternoon, the newspaper reported.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro said on its website that it was made aware of the findings and that “Mr. Rowash is being suspended pending further investigation about these allegations, a proper action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation.”
The center calls itself “a religious, nonpolitical organization [that] does not support any radical views of any kind by any individual or group,” but a list of books recently posted on its site shows it supports at least two radical clerics, says Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project.
“It includes titles from Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual mentor to the international Islamist Muslim Brotherhood” and “Harun Yahya (Turkish Islamist pushing for a Khalifa-like state ruled by the Turks),” Emerson told FoxNews.com in an e-mail.
This list no longer appears on the website, but it was located at www.icmtn.org/ListofBooks.pdf, Emerson said.
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, al-Qaradawi is a prominent Sunni scholar who as recently as last year called the Holocaust “divine punishment” for Jews; encouraged Muslims to put Jews “in their place” as Hitler had done; and publicly prayed that one day Allah would give him the opportunity to die as a martyr while shooting “Allah’s enemies, the Jews.”
In September 2004, al-Qaradawi signed a communiqué with 93 other clerics, saying that fighting U.S. and British troops in Iraq “is a Shariah duty incumbent upon anyone belonging to the Muslim nation, within and outside Iraq, who is capable of carrying it out,” and issued a fatwa permitting the abduction and murder of American civilians in Iraq in order to pressure the American military into withdrawing its forces, the Institute said on its website.
Another author on the list, Harun Yahya, also known as Adnan Oktar, reportedly spent 19 months in jail in Turkey for inflammatory anti-Semitic statements in his book “Judaism and Freemasonry” and was sentenced, again in Turkey, to three years in prison in 2008 for creating an illegal organization for personal gain, along with 17 other members of his organization the Bilim Araştırma Vakfı or “Science Research Foundation.”
These issues have divided Murfreesboro residents, who last month scheduled a protest and counter-protest surrounding plans for the new Islamic center.
The Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom, the group that organized the counter-protest, says critics are discriminating against Muslims due to their religion.
“We, as tolerant and loving community members, come together to defend the right of any member of our community to worship and express his, her, or their faith no matter the religion,” the group’s Facebook page says. “We will not stand idly by while Muslim people in our community are represented falsely and assaulted on a psychological level.”
Jerry Gordon, a member of the board of Former Muslims United, a group dedicated to raising awareness of “the threat from authoritative Shariah to the religious freedom and safety of former Muslims,” says the fears are not about religion, they are about Shariah and political Islam.
“The first question you have to pose is: Is Islam a religion, or is it a political doctrine with a religious veneer? …And there’s a group of people who, after much reading and scholarship, believe it’s the latter, ” Gordon told FoxNews.com.
“The people in the community who opposed this are energized by the concern that perhaps what we’re building here… is essentially a regional training center for something,” he added. “…And the question that’s really being posed for which there is no useful information just yet is where are the funds coming from?”
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro did not respond to a request for comment from FoxNews.com; on its website, it says it took three months to raise the $320,000 needed to purchase the land for the new center, over 95 percent of which it says was raised locally in middle Tennessee.
There is much more on other mosques in Tennessee at the full story. Also, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has reinstated their jihad-pledging board member.
We have contacted the appropriate law enforcement authorities and offered our full cooperation. After a careful evaluation, it has been determined that Mr. Rowash did not violate any local, state, or federal laws by the postings on his MySpace account.
Therefore, it has been deemed that these allegations are untrue and misleading.