by, Victor Fiorillo | Philadelphia Magazine | h/t Creeping Sharia | h/t Robert Chidester
Bensalem has its fair share of churches and other houses of worship. The Bucks County township of 60,000 has Catholic churches, Protestant churches, synagogues, a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, and a Buddhist Temple. And there are two Hindu temples under development. But if you’re a Bensalem Muslim, you’re out of luck, because Bensalem doesn’t have a mosque. Instead, local Muslims meet once a week for Friday prayers inside a rented fire hall.
The Bensalem Masjid, a religious organization with some 200 families in its congregation, wants to change that but says that Bensalem Township and its Zoning Hearing Board haven’t exactly rolled out the red carpet for its proposed mosque (rendering above) on the 3800 block of Hulmeville Road, which has several other houses of worship within a one-mile radius. And now the group has filed a lawsuit (below) against the township and the board in federal court.
The group has been looking for property for its mosque since 2008. And due to zoning regulations in Bensalem, you can’t just erect a mosque — or any other house of worship — wherever you want.
The Bensalem Masjid says that it tried to buy existing houses of worship, which would already be zoned correctly, but none were interested in selling. It put in bids on other properly zoned parcels, but those bids were rejected or went unanswered. Finally, the group found a 4.58-acre, three-parcel stretch of property on Hulmeville Road that would be perfect for its needs — big enough for a cafeteria, a school, and all of the other facilities they wanted to bring to the Muslims in the area — but the group of properties weren’t zoned for house-of-worship use. And so, the Bensalem Masjid went before the zoning board to try to get a variance.
In February, the board expressed certain concerns about the project, and so the group changed its physical plans, eliminating a proposed basement and cafeteria. Another hearing was held. And another. And another. In total, six hearings were held, making the process one of the longest — if not the longest zoning hearing process — in Bensalem’s history.
Board members questioned the Masjid about parking and traffic. One board member expressed concern that the mosque would bring in Muslims from New Jersey and nearby Philadelphia.
Community members were invited to air their concerns about the project. One suggested that unlike a church or synagogue, the mosque wouldn’t bring the same kind of benefit to the overall community that a synagogue or church would bring.
The fears of another community member who spoke were a little more clear:
…mosques have patterns and the pattern of mosques has been that when they — when the congregants outgrow the mosque, they spill out on to the streets. And what they do is they — they block — pull up blockades and they bring out their rugs, and they put them down on the street, and they do their prayers out on the streets. I have a video of this if you would like to see to back it up, in several cities around the world … What they do is they put up their barricades and they lay their carpets down on the street and they pray. And it takes them 45 minutes. It draws a lot of people, and it creates problems for the businesses on that street because they cannot do commerce because nobody can get in or out of their stores.
The Masjid brought in at least 10 expert witnesses to testify on its behalf — from a civil engineer and traffic experts to an Islamic theologian — but the board still said no. And the group contends that the same board granted variances to other nearby religious organizations similarly restricted by the zoning laws. The variance obtained in April to build a Hindu temple on the site of a restaurant was reportedly not met with significant objection.
So is this Islamophobia at work?
“We can’t see into their hearts, so we judge them by their conduct,” says Ryan Tack-Hooper, the Masjid’s attorney from the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who suggests that the board’s concerns over traffic and parking were unfounded and that the board didn’t make an issue out of traffic and parking for others houses of worship in the area. “It’s very clear that they treated this case differently than they treated other faith centers. There’s definitely some prejudice at work here.”
In its lawsuit, the Masjid accuses Bensalem and the board of violating laws regarding religious land use, Pennsylvania’s Municipal Planning Code and Religious Freedom Protection Act, and the group’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
The zoning board’s attorney could not be reached for comment, and an attorney representing the township did not immediately return a call seeking comment. One board member, realtor Joanne Redding, hung up on us when we tried to ask her about the mosque.
Assault committed by black man screaming ‘..I want to kill the Jew..’
by, Joe Stepansky, Erik Badia, Rocco Parascandola, Thomas Tracy & Corky Siemaszko | New York Daily News
A deranged man screaming “I want to kill the Jew!” stabbed a 22-year-old yeshiva student in the face at the Lubavitcher headquarters in Brooklyn before he was shot dead by police early Tuesday.
Cops repeatedly ordered 49-year-old Calvin Peters to put down the 9-inch blade and he initially complied, placing it on a table, police said.
But Peters, who according to his family lawyer was bipolar, grabbed it again and charged at the officers before he was shot in the stomach by Officer Roberto Pagan, the sources said.
“He was going towards the officer,” a 19-year-old Hasidic witness said. “His eyes were bulging, he must have been on drugs.”
In startling video first posted by the Israeli news site 0404, an officer identified by sources as Timothy Donohue is heard yelling at Peters to put down the weapon.
“Drop the f—–g knife,” he can be heard yelling repeatedly.
Then a single shot rang out, hitting Peters and ending the outrage at Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.
Meanwhile, knife attack victim Levi Rosenblat was rushed to trauma unit at Kings County Hospital where he was in critical condition with bleeding on the brain, police and sources said.
“Earlier today we all felt pretty good that he was stable, but now it seems they found something they didn’t know this morning and he’s in pretty serious shape,” said Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn).
Rosenblat’s mother was en route from Israel, sources said. She lives south of Jerusalem in the Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit, located in the West Bank.
“He may have some permanent damage,” said one source, who reported that Rosenblat had also been stabbed at least once in the neck.
The Brooklyn attack immediately drew comparisons to the slaughter at an Orthodox-Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem last month by a pair of meat cleaver-wielding Palestinians that left four rabbis dead.
Rabbi Motti Seligson, a Lubavitcher spokesman, said multiple witnesses heard Peters screaming about killing Jews. “He was heard saying, ‘Kill the Jews,’ or something to that effect,” Seligson said.
But Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said this appeared to be the work of a troubled man with a long rap sheet — not a terrorist plot.
“We are very, very confident it’s not a terrorist-related act at this stage,” Bratton said. “There’s no indication that the subject … had any affiliation with any terrorist organization.”
Peters was emotionally disturbed and “has a history of acting out in other places,” added John Miller, the NYPD’s anti-terrorism czar.
But in light of the attack, and with Israel in turmoil and Chanukah on the horizon, the NYPD is ramping up security at synagogues and other Jewish institutions across the city, Miller said.
“You will see some enhanced coverage in terms of police presence at these locations,” Miller said.
Mayor de Blasio gave kudos to “the police officers who answered the call to this incident.”
“They responded quickly to a tense and dangerous situation, and while any loss of life is tragic, we are fortunate that, thanks to the actions of our officers early this morning, more people were not injured or worse,” the mayor said.
The deadly drama erupted at about 1:40 a.m. when Peters burst into the building and — without warning — jammed the knife into Rosenblat’s head, police and witnesses said.
“I went over to the floor, I saw the teenager on the floor, his hair was bloody,” one witness said. “He was saying, ‘Save me.’”
The Hasidic teenager said he too rushed to Rosenblat’s aid when he heard the young man’s screams.
“The whole side of his face is all stabbed up and is bloody and he was screaming for help,” the teenager said. “I told him to come down, I went outside with him and then these other guys started taking care of him.”
When he went back inside, the teen said he saw Peters with the knife in his hand.
Donohue, who is based at the center, was the first to confront Peters, sources said. He was quickly joined by two other cops, both with their guns drawn.
“The police were screaming, ‘Put down the knife, put down the knife’,” the teen said. “The guy, he looks at the police he says, ‘Are you cool?’ They said, ‘Put down the knife!’”
The video shows Peters putting down the knife and walking several feet away while one of the officers holstered his gun and turned his head, apparently in response to something another cop said.
But that officer immediately pulled his gun out again when Peters made a beeline for the knife.
“The cops told him to put down his knife, he wouldn’t put it down, he started going towards the cops and the cops shot him,” the Hasidic teenage witness said.
Peters looked out of it, he said.
“He was calm, he looked like maybe he was on heavy drugs, he was walking kind of from side to side,” the witness said.
A second video posted by 0404 shows the aftermath — Peters lying on the ground, conscious and moaning — as cops put him in handcuffs. He was rushed to Kings County, where he died at 3:15 a.m.
Peters, who lived in Valley Stream, L.I., has a rap sheet stretching back on 1982 with 19 arrests in New York and Nassau County, sources said. His most recent arrest was in 2005, when he was busted for violating an order of protections.
It was not clear who filed the order, but most of Peters’ arrests were for drug possession, as well as arson and criminal possession of stolen property, the sources said.
Jeffrey St. Clair, an attorney for Peters’ wife, Gayle, said the slain suspect had mental problems and “did have some history of bipolar.” But he was also a “devoted father” of two young boys.
“He was always seen with his two boys,” St. Clair said. “If you talk to any of his neighbors, I’m sure they’ll tell you the same thing. The family is quite frankly shocked and disappointed at what happened. Our prayers go out to the person that was injured.”
Neighbor Lorraine McCartney, 80, said she too was stunned and said she had no inkling that Peters was mentally ill or had a criminal past. She said he was a stay-at-home dad who headed “a model family.”
“I’m just completely shocked,” she said.
While police aren’t saying what caused Peters to snap, sources said he left home Monday for a dental appointment at 11 a.m. but didn’t show up.
Around 5:20 p.m., Peters turned about at the bustling Hasidic center in Brooklyn where he spoke to several people and left without incident.
Peters returned at 12:05 a.m. and asked, “Do you have any books in English?”
Told no, Peters was escorted out, the sources said.
Peters returned 91 minutes later at 1:36 a.m. — and unleashed hell, the sources said.
A 25-year-old Israeli, who asked not to be identified, said he saw Peters casing the building an hour before the attack.
“He was looking around, he asked for a book,” the witness said. “He looked not so much crazy, but different.”
When the man returned, he was armed with a knife in his hand and there was anger in his voice as he screamed, “I will kill the Jew! I want to kill the Jew!”
“I never thought it would happen in New York,” he told The News. “These things don’t need to happen.”
Rosenblat arrived in Brooklyn two weeks ago to study at the Chabad headquarters, friends said.
“He’s a nice guy, a good guy,” said Menzy Myhiol, 20, a student from Canada. “He was a regular student just doing his studies.”
Peters is the 180th person killed during a confrontation with on-duty NYPD officers since the death of Amadou Diallo in 1999, according to a study conducted by the Daily News.
Mosque initiative defeated in 4-1 city council vote
by, Patrick Howell O’Neill | The Daily Dot | h/t Jack Hansen
A small Georgia city has voted to ban an Islamic group from renting a retail space to open a temporary mosque in the city, even after the landlord agreed to the deal.
The City Council of Kennesaw, a city of about 30,000 people in north Georgia, ultimately voted down the Muslim group’s request 4-1.
The issue has engendered a lot of tension in the town, and from critics outside of it. To give you a small idea of the intensity of the attitudes at play, here’s the video’s description from the man who recorded this week’s City Council vote: “The scumbag lawyer for the terrorist org. says he will sue… good luck with that.”
Attorney Doug Dillard called the decision unconstitutional and “a blatant attack on First Amendment rights.” He says the group will continue to fight and is strongly considering a federal lawsuit against the city.
Anti-Muslim protesters stood outside the meeting with signs such as “Ban Islam” and “Islam Wants No Peace!” but the issue of religion didn’t actually come up in the meeting itself.
That was deliberate. Mayor Mark Matthews forbade comment from the public about religion, so critics instead said they opposed the temporary mosque on the grounds of the center’s hours of operation, attendance, and parking.
The Muslim group had already agreed to limit attendance in the 2,200 square foot space to 80 worshipers at a time, building 40 parking spaces, and signing a two-year lease. In the end, it wasn’t nearly enough—because those were never the biggest issues at play.
A public hearing last month had no off-limit topics, so many citizens were blunt about their opposition to the mosque.
“I am first a Christian and then an American citizen,” resident Jo Talley said. “As a Christian I am to put no other God before my Lord, and I am also to love my neighbor. If you know me, then you know that I do my best to do those things … but I also have the right to protect myself. This project has to do with Sharia law.”
Resident Anthony Bonner said the debate was “bigger than just zoning and parking. This is bigger than right and wrong. This is not a religious debate. This is about a comment on the value and the merits of a community.”
In fact, the Marietta Daily Journal reports that the city allowed a Pentecostal church to rent a retail space for exactly the same purpose in July.
“You know, if Christianity were killing people, I’m pretty sure I would have a problem with it,” Pastor C.S. Clarke of the Redeemed Christian Fellowship Church told the media. “Then I would be concerned with that moving into my neighborhood. But, I’m open, I’m inclusive. Christianity does teach love, inclusiveness, creating a better environment for everyone.”
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Here is a comment from our source article:
Members of the Hezbollah Terrorist Organization, supported by the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) give the Nazi ‘Heil Hitler’ salute.
Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) Discovered to be Financially Supporting Middle-Eastern Terrorist Organization
by, Ryan Mauro | The Clarion Project
Islamist interfaith engagement with American Christians has received significant attention in recent months. Now, an Israeli legal organization has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service over the Presbyterian Church USA’s meetings with Hezbollah members.
The Israel Law Center’s 38-page complaint with the IRS also accuses the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) of violating its non-profit status with extensive political lobbying along with meeting with a terrorist group overseas.
“There is no mention in PCUSA organizing documents that it perceives fulfilling Christ’s work by meeting with and endorsing statements of a US-designated terrorist organization found to be responsible for the death of United States civilians and marines,” the Center says.
In 2004, the PCUSA’s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy sent a delegation of two dozen representatives to Beirut, Lebanon to meet with Hezbollah. The terrorist group had a field day with it, showing the meeting on its Al-Manar propaganda station. The clips included one delegate praising Hezbollah.
“We treasure the precious words of Hezbollah and your expression of goodwill towards the American people,” Elder Ronald Stone of East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh said.
Stone also appealed to Hezbollah’s anti-Semitism by saying that dialogue with Islamic leaders is easier than with Jewish leaders.
The Presbyterian Church USA responded by saying the meeting was “misguided” and unauthorized.
Yet, in 2005, another PCUSA delegation met with Hezbollah in Lebanon. It was sponsored by the PCUSA’s Middle East Task Force.
This second trip was led by Reverend Nuhad Tomeh, the Presbyterian Church USA’s General Liaison for Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Despite this meeting with Hezbollah, Tomehserved in this position until the fall of 2013.
Tomeh does not currently have an official title with PCUSA, but his ties have not been severed. He is still promoted on the Presbyterian Church USA’s Presbyterian Mission Agency website.
The PCUSA spokesman for the trip was Robert Worley, a former professor at a Presbyterian seminary. He was quoted in the Lebanese media regurgitating Hezbollah’s propaganda:
“The Americans hear in the Western media that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, and they do not hear any other opinion. They know nothing about the party’s concern for the people of the south.”
Worley confirmed to the New York Times that he was being accurately quoted by the Lebanese press and reiterated his stance on Hezbollah, saying that the group “brought peace to that region of the world.”
When asked about Hezbollah’s designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S., he said, “Is ‘terrorists’ the right word? They are resistance.”
A national PCUSA represetative responded by saying the PCUSA official was not representing the church in the visit. It said the Presbytery of Chicago’s Middle East Task Force does not reflect the church’s official stances.
The church’s Chicago leader, Rev. Robert Reynolds, said he regretted the meeting because Hezbollah “used the group’s visit for political purposes.”
At best, this statement displays a stunning ignorance of how Islamist terrorists work; at worst, it displays a willful collusion by the PCUSA in its dealings with Islamist radicals.
These dealings include joint activism against advertisements spreading awareness about violent jihad and rushing to the defenseof Islamic groups with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and histories of extremist rhetoric who accuse their critics of bigotry.
PCUSA also published a book that whitewashes the extremist preaching of Zaytuna College’s founders, who spout anti-American propaganda and justify attacks on U.S. soldiers.
In addition, the church is part of a coalition that defended an accused Palestinian terrorist bomber who was found guilty of naturalization fraud in the U.S., likely leading to her deportation.
PCUSA lists U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities as interfaith partners and such groups serve as advisors to the church’s studies in Muslim-Christian relations.
The church also opposes U.S. military action against the Islamic State (ISIS), arguing that the group can be dealt with peacefully and that U.S. “aggression” is to blame for Islamist terrorism and extremism.
Earlier this year, PCUSA published a study guide for members that argues against Christian support for Israel’s existence as a political state. It teaches that such support is “providing theological and ideological ‘cover’ for the takeover of Palestinian land, and the domination and dispossession of the Palestinian people during the past one and a quarter centuries.”
Islamists consider PCUSA an ally because of its anti-Israel activism and blaming of Israel for Islamist terrorist acts.
Unsurprisingly, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and the Iranian regime celebrated the study guide.
In June, PCUSA voted to divest $21 million from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions to punish them for their work with Israel.
No similar action has been taken against business working with the Iranian regime or other Islamist extremists.
PCUSA says it has over 1.7 million members in over 10,000 congregations across the country. There are huge ramifications from the Islamists’ influencing of this church’s membership. And events in recent months show that this engagement is not limited to PCUSA.
Minnesota Council of Churches
On November 9, the Muslim Christian Dialogue Center based at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota brought in an Islamist extremist linked to the Muslim Brotherhood for an interfaith event. The Center was founded by the Minnesota Council of Churches and the Islamic Center of Minnesota.
One of the keynote speakers at the event was Jamal Badawi, whosehistory includes endorsing suicide bombings and “combative jihad” and praising Hamas as “martyrs.” He is also close to Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi.
Badawi used to be listed as a member of the board of directors for theIslamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and designated unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas-financing trial. He is also personally listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in that trial.
Badawi is one of the founders of the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors say was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” Badawi’s name is listed as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood official in an internal document from 1992.
The Center’s Advisory Board includes a representative from the Muslim American Society, Imam Asad Zaman.
A New Interfaith Coalition
In October, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation organized Muslim and Christian leaders to form a coalition against the persecution of minorities in the Arab world, including Christians. It also aims to promote religious tolerance in general and to fight negative stereotypes of Arabs.
The mission is honorable but the coalition includes radical organizations with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. It includes Nihad Awad, Executive-Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Syed Moktadir, president of the ADAMS Societyand Sayyid Syeed, the leader of the interfaith office of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
The Middle East Christian Committee published a letter to coalition member Archbishop Atallah Hanna in Jerusalem to ask for the removal of CAIR Executive-Director Nihad Awad. The request wasendorsed by the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy.
Dean of Washington National Cathedral Defends Muslim Brotherhood
There was also a major controversy when the Washington National Cathedral allowed Islamist groups with extremist histories to hold Muslim prayers inside the church on November 14. The Cathedral’s director of liturgy described it as a moment for the “voices of moderation” to be heard.
Despite the significant media coverage, the Dean of the Cathedral, Gary Hall, said he wasn’t aware of reports linking the participating Muslim groups to the Muslim Brotherhood.
When asked if that would bother him, he answered, “No more so that it would alarm me that people in my own faith and tradition have links to other kinds of … inappropriate or unethical or immoral kinds of behavior.”
The reporter then asked the Dean if he knows of the Brotherhood’s extremist agenda. He replied, “I’m aware that they are the legitimately elected government of Egypt.”
The Dean then criticized the reporter as “McCarthyite” and said, “The kind of things you are bringing up are the kinds of extremism we are actually trying to disassociate with.”
The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood wrote a 1991 strategic memo that describes its “work in America as a kind of grand jihad … in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”
One of the key instructions given to the Brotherhood network was to “possess a mastery of the art of ‘coalitions,’ the art of ‘absorption,’ and the principles of ‘cooperation.’”
From the beginning, Islamists in America saw the value in forming interfaith and political alliances. Based on these incidents, we can see why.