'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sleeper Cells (Part 3.5) 

UPDATE 2: More than 250 people cheered when the city of Mayfield, Kentucky denied a Somali group’s petition for a mosque.

Here's one local response:

I live in mayfield, Ky. where the proposed mosque was turned down. I am glad it was turned down! No one should critize us until you have lived here with these somalis, I have witnessed first hand their rude and disrespectful behavior toward the women here not just their women! You should also know that a somali was arrested here today for kidnapping, he tried to force a 12 year old girl into his car he is in jail as we speak. Just because they rape at will in their country they think it is ok to do so here, it is their religion to discipline women as they see fit. Their religion is not a peaceful religion. I wish they would all go back where they came from. They have cussed out utility workers and anyone who might cross them. So whoever said shame on us for not letting them worship, and that their door was open anytime for them, be careful what you wish for, you just might get 150 of them at your door, I sure wouldnt want that.


I feel like I belong here, (like) I was born here. I've been here for a long, long time, he said. This city must be safe for everyone...All color, races, all religions. Everyone. We live here side by side, peacefully. Lovely.

But this is precisely the problem. The people opposing the mosques don't want to live side by side with Muslims, anymore than earlier generations wanted to live around Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos and Asians.

INITIAL POST: From Democracy Now!:

Ahmed Sharif picked up a passenger who hailed him at 24th Street and Second Avenue, and he was going toward Times Square. And, you know, the ride started out very smoothly. I mean, the man said, As-salaam Alaikum. And then, you know, he started asking questions: Where are you from? How long have you been here? How long have you been driving? Are you a Muslim? And then he asked him questions about Ramadan: Are you fasting? And then his questions about Ramadan were very disrespectful, and he started to mock, you know, the holy month. And at that point, Mr. Sharif just stopped talking to him. He realized something was up. He started just concentrating on the driving.

So, on Third Avenue, about 39th to 40th Streets, all of a sudden, after being quiet, the perpetrator got very loud, and he started screaming and started cursing at Mr. Sharif. And he said to him—you know, he said to him, Salaam Alaikum. Consider this a checkpoint. And Mr. Sharif was like, Checkpoint? You know, what do you mean, checkpoint? He said, Consider this a checkpoint. I need to bring Abdullah through the checkpoint. And then he took the knife out, and through the crack in the partition window, Mr. Sharif could see that, you know, he went to cut him across the neck.

So half of his neck is completely cut up. And as he tried to fight him off, he also has defensive wounds on his hand and on his shoulder. And the cut on his shoulder is extremely deep. And he has also one more wound on his face, on his upper lip. So, he’s bleeding profusely.

The assailant got out. He started running. Mr. Sharif was just screaming, Help! Help! Help! And then, you know, the car was moving slowly, and he kept moving the car. About two blocks later, he saw a police officer around 42nd Street and Third Avenue. He got out, and he told the police—and he’s bleeding. He told the police officer, Stop that man. He stabbed me. When the police officer caught him, he said, What happened here? And this guy said, I was trying to rob him. Mr. Sharif said, No, he wasn’t trying to rob me. You know, he said all of these hateful things to me about being Muslim, and that basically he wanted to teach him a lesson. And so, then the police were able to apprehend him, and they took him in at that point.

When I talked to Ahmed, you know, when he was still in his hospital bed, when we first saw him, you know, he couldn’t speak. When he was able to speak and I was able to talk to him, the first thing he said to me was we have to get the message out, because we can’t let this escalate, drivers need to protect themselves. He said the environment right now is very serious. There is no doubt in our minds that the fear mongering and the ignorance and the hatred that has been spewing around this Islamic cultural center—which has erroneously been called the Ground Zero mosque—we have no doubt that it’s that hatred that’s risen to the surface and that’s led to this violence.

The clock is ticking. Will people come together to resist the intensification of the demonization of Muslims in the US before it is too late?

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