Tuesday, 24 October 2017

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I Islamophobia

Potential mosque sparks debate at Port St. Lucie City Council meeting

By Nicole Rodriguez, For TC Palm , On 28 April 2017, Read Original

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PORT ST. LUCIE — A group of Treasure Coast residents Monday decried the prospect of a mosque near their neighborhood, saying the institution would become a breeding ground for terrorists.

The handful of at times combative speakers told City Council the potential mosque — which would be the city’s first — would disturb the neighborhood with prayer five times a day and promote fear, hate and terror. The group went before City Council after hearing a Muslim group is considering buying Church on the Rock, in the 1400 block of Bougainvillea Avenue.

“Fifteen to 20 percent of their population seeks to destroy and kill you and me,” St. Lucie County resident James Giora said. “As we go to bed tonight, they’re trying to figure out ways to do that.”

Speakers often cited Pulse nightclub shooter and Fort Pierce resident Omar Mateen and Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, who spent much of his life with his family in Indian River County, as the first known American suicide bomber in the Syrian civil war. They claimed a mosque in Port St. Lucie could spawn the next homegrown terrorist.

“Are you prepared to tell me as a citizen of Port St. Lucie that these individuals coming to this Islamic center are going to be properly vetted?” Port St. Lucie resident Kelly Lynn Ruiz asked.

 

Resident says mosque is a bad idea: 

An account on the fundraising website GoFundMe.com was created Feb. 3 by Mohammad Hussein of the nonprofit Treasure Coast Islamic Society to raise $200,000 to buy Church on the Rock, according to the website. About $4,600 has been raised so far, the site states.

 

Approval by the council for a mosque at the location would be needed only if the site is more than 3,000 square feet, which Church on the Rock is not, Mayor Greg Oravec said Monday.

Oravec frequently referred to the Constitution during the meeting, reminding speakers the U.S. was founded on freedom of religion.

“We don’t get to pick and choose which freedoms are afforded to our citizens or to pick and choose among our citizens. We fight for them all,” Oravec said.

Islamaphobia has become a business, said Mohammad Malik, a Port St. Lucie resident and friend of Hussein.

“They just want to go out and spread fear and hate about a faith that they don’t know anything about,” Malik said Monday night. “If you want to talk about alternative facts, these people have alternative facts. They don’t know the religion. They just make up stuff based on what they’ve heard.”

“We welcome them to come sit down with us and talk to us and learn,” Malik said.

Police presence was heavier than at usual council meetings because of an expected protest by opponents of the mosque, Master Sergeant Frank Sabol said. Seven uniformed officers were present as opposed to the usual one or two.

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Heavier than normal police presence at Port St. Lucie City Hall. Folks here to protest a potential mosque in PSL