Another Mosque permit denied in Georgia, let’s ponder! Dedicated to Khwaja Sher Ali

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This piece is dedicated to Mr. Khwaja Sher Ali who called me up after reading my article Fixing Muslim Mistakes . He is indeed Amin of the society, as I had mentioned what it entails in the article citing Dr. Arjumad Hashmi.  

My take on Kennesaw Mosque request denial

It will  be temporarily removed from Monday until published in a major news paper and possibly at Fox News, then the new link will be substituted here at –  http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/12/another-mosque-permit-denied-in-georgia.html
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Every American has a right to build his or her place of worship subject to the zoning ordinance of the city, as they are applied to all places of worship. It should not be up to the discretion of individual council persons, but according to the ordinance placed on the books.  When we leave things to individual’s discretion we are bound to make mistakes.

In the wake of what happened with 9/11 Ground Zero Mosque – Murfreesboro Mosque in Tennessee, Katy Mosque in Texas, California and other places, we have to ask, where did we go wrong?

Of course we must fight to retain the character of the nation we love – freedom to speak and freedom to worship. America is one of the greatest nations on the earth for its enduring constitution and freedom guaranteed to individuals in the pursuit of their happiness.

Now, the City of Kennesaw in Georgia has denied a permit for the Mosque.

According to Fox Atlanta, The city of Kennesaw turned down a group who wanted to open a mosque in the city. The group had wanted to use a portion of a strip plaza for a worship center. They would hold prayer services 5 times a day starting just before sunrise, with a longer service on Fridays. Council woman Debra Williams says “It’s a retail space and it needs to stay retail space.” and on, “Monday night, the city voted 4 to 1 against the Suffa Duwat Center. Council woman Cris Welsh was the lone supporter. “I’m really only for the constitutional amendment, this is a constitutional issue for me” says Welsh.

Let’s face the tough aspect of the issue first, and then question ourselves with our practices.

Do we want our nation to advance forward with bigotry?  The answer is no.  Indeed, we are a beacon of hope to the world in running a stable and sustainable democracy; we hope all nations can learn from us, and not vice-versa.  Newt Gingrich and his ilk had rightfully criticized Saudi Arabia for not allowing Churches to be built there, but wrongfully wanted to damage the character of America and become like Saudi Arabia, how unpatriotic it is.   Saudi Arabia is the only nation on the earth that does not allow any place of worship be built there. It has nothing to do with Islam but Saudi Arabia.  My response is at World Muslim Congress – http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2010/08/newt-gingrich-v-mike-ghouse-on-cordoba.html

As a Pluralist committed to building a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other, I would request fellow Americans who are Christians, Jews and Hindus in Kennesaw to apply for a similar space to build a Church, Synagogue or a Temple and see what the council does.  If they deny all of them, then they are not bigots, and they will set a precedent for future.

On the other hand, let’s question ourselves.

Bill Harris in Marietta Daily Journal claims that the Mosque applicant was deceptive,  “A very wealthy Marietta Muslim, Abdul Kareem Amer, who lives six blocks from one of the referenced mosques and three miles from another, got a Kennesaw Muslim, Mr. F. Islam, to put in a “straw man” application for a store-front mosque in a retail center and also got Mr. Islam to put forth a bogus claim to the city that there is “no mosque within a 20 mile radius” for the Kennesaw Muslims to use. This rich Marietta Muslim wanted to run his own little boutique mosque and thought he would put it in a second-rate down-market strip mall in Kennesaw where he would be a big fish in a small pond.”


This was responded very well by a comment, “If 8 miles and 11 miles is considered close, then all these churches on every corner need to go.

Indeed, we are not connected enough with the mainstream society for a vast majority of Americans to stand up for us, empathize with us, or even understand the truth about us that we are no different than them in our endeavors and aspirations of life. We must express our gratitude to the millions of Americans who have stood up for us, compelled by their sense of justness and fair play. But we should count the support based on being good neighbors; a lasting value.

Professor Sherman Jackson observes, “Thus far, however, Muslims remain outside the American story, which is why, despite their positive contributions to society; they seldom enlist empathy when they are jailed, deported or discriminated against.” And he offers the solution, “Hopefully, however, it will not be long before Muslims come to understand this. Once they do, while guilt by association may continue, Muslims will be able to fight back. For in this they will be joined by others.”


How do we change this, how do we become a part of the American story, and not a story in America?

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had set up a model of exemplary citizenship.  Indeed, that is how he built Islam – a system to live in peace with oneself and with others. First, he laid the foundation necessary to build such system, he chose to become the Amin of the society; people trusted him, liked him for his fairness and caring and he was just towards all people. He knew everyone around him. He was friends with all, and was a mercy to mankind, was he not?

No one in this great country needs permission from others to live their lives, but certainly no one needs to live in hostilities. The solution is to become Amins of the society, be friends and be fair and just to all.


An additional note: After I wrote the article Fixing Muslim Mistakes Mr. Khwaja Sher Ali from Montebello called me up. He is the Amin in the City of Montebello. There are many more, and Insha Allah, I intend to highlight them. We are good people, and we need the world to know, we have failed in showing our goodness and have took in the negative image slapped on us.

Please donate generously to carry this work forward.  http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/

Links in the above article:

Thank you
mike
Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
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Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post.  All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.
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