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Islam in the Bible Belt : Proceed With Caution

By: MIKE VINSON

Discussing religion is metaphorically akin to dismantling a bomb: Touch the wrong wire, and the whole thing could blow up and injure all involved.

Of great sensitivity, these days, is that the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro plans to build, in Rutherford County, a “52,000-square foot facility that would include a pool, gym, and school in addition to a mosque.”

The main reason for building this facility — a community center, actually — is that the Islamic population has grown to the extent that it needs a larger facility.

(SPECIAL NOTE: Islam is defined as: “A monotheistic religion characterized by the acceptance of the doctrine of submission to God and to Muhammad as the chief and last prophet of God: (A) The people or nations that practice Islam; the Muslim world. (B) The civilization developed by the Muslim world.” Mosque is defined as: “A Muslim house of worship.”)

On the flipside, a large number of Rutherford County residents, the majority Christians, are totally against the building of this Islamic facility.

This was greatly evidenced when, on July 15, approximately 500 protesters gathered around the county courthouse on the Square, both voicing and displaying their displeasure.

In the military, I was taught that three terms apply to any potentially volatile situation: (1) Criticality. (2) Vulnerability. (3) Recuperability. That’s how I’m going to approach the mosque-in-Murfreesboro issue.

1. CRITICALITY

At stake here are First Amendment Rights, namely, Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech.

At the core, as I see it, is MTSU, which vastly has contributed to the collective growth of Rutherford County/Murfreesboro over the years.

MTSU welcomes students from all walks of life, including the Islamic culture.

So, is it fair for Rutherford County merchants and businessmen to profit from these Islamic students, but deny them a place to worship and socialize?

But what about those locals who harbor some legitimate fears about the Islamic world?

They have a right to voice those fears.

All one has to do is think back to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, where almost 3,000 people died.

It has been documented that the main orchestrators and hands-on operatives — extremists, though they were — of that horrific attack had ties to the Islamic culture.

2. VULNERABILITY

To say that any/every Muslim is a potential terrorist, thus a potential threat to Americans and U.S. soil, is faulty to the point of feeble-mindedness.

It would be comparable to denouncing all Southern Baptists because it had been discovered that the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan was a member of a Southern Baptist church.

However, it has been widely covered that an original board member of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Mosaad Rawash, was released from his position on that board because of alleged ties to the terrorist organization Hamas, known to be a serious threat to America.

In a TIME magazine article (Oct. 13, 2006 issue), titled “New Calls by Hamas Militants to Target the U.S.,” author Tim McGirk wrote: “The U.S. has become very hostile to the Palestinians.”

One Hamas field commander told TIME, “We shouldn’t stand by idly while the Americans are plotting against us. … One enemy — Israel — is enough. Let others in Iraq and Afghanistan take on the Great Satan [America ].”

An apt question could be: Though the board did dismiss this member with alleged ties to Hamas, does it not raise a serious red flag that such a person ever was on the board?

3. RECUPERABILITY

Even if handled with the greatest of care, a degree of collateral damage is guaranteed.

Why?

Because there exist hardcore, narrow-minded types in both the Islamic world and the Christian world who tend to go off the deep end when things don’t go their way.

While the First Amendment allows religious freedom, the Constitution, also, allows Americans to protect themselves.

The Murfreesboro Post

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