City of Brass

City of Brass


Map of mosque controversies in the US

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Note: I am going to make a conscious effort to stop using the word “mosque” in my writing from here on out. Few people realize that the word mosque is not an Arabic term but probably has colonial – and perjorative – origins. The actual word for a muslim place of worship is masjid, which is a cognate of the root word in Arabic for “prostration” (sajd). And it’s the word I intend to use faithfully from now on as much as possible.

The Pew Forum has released an extremely useful infographic – a map of all the masjid projects facing controversies in the US, with an overview of the details as you click each one. The map accompanies a Department of Justice report released on September 22nd on discrimination against masjids, synagogues, and other places of worship since 2000.

From the Pew website:

This map shows the locations of 35 proposed mosques and Islamic centers that have encountered community resistance in the last two years. Click on a location for a brief overview of the project based on news reports. In many cases, the opposition has centered on neighbors’ concerns about traffic, noise, parking and property values – the same objections that often greet churches and other houses of worship as well as commercial construction projects. In some communities, however, opponents of mosques also have cited fears about Islam, sharia law and terrorism.

While the map shows only projects that have met resistance, many mosques and Islamic centers have been built in recent years with little or no opposition. See, for example, articles in the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Associated Press about newly opened mosques in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Here’s a static screenshot of the map, but do visit the original which provides dynamic text as you click each dot for a briefing on the specific case.

map masjid controversies 2010

One interesting factoid with the map is that in 2000, there were 1200 masjids in the United States. In 2010, there are 1900 – meaning that the rate of growth is only around 6% per year. This is just further rebuttal to the absurd idea (being promoted for financial gain by intelletcual frauds like Newt Gingrich, Andrew McCarthy, and the authors of the “Team B” report) that there is any impending threat of Shari’a takeover in the United States.

Incidentally, Pew released an absolutely superb report earlier this month, titled “Muslim networks and movements in Western Europe” which is an absolute must-read. It’s incredibly detailed, informative, and useful as a source of real facts to counter the manufactured nonsense by the Eurabia crowd such as Bat Ye’or and Geert Wilders keep trying to sell (literally).

And, as long as we are debunking “Muslim takeover/imposing Shari’a” hysteria in the US and Europe, let’s also take special note of the article at Foreign Policy about the Muslim Brotherhood, which concludes “there is every reason to be interested in the Brotherhood’s myriad (and surprisingly diverse) country branches, but there’s no reason to fear it as a menacing global web.” Also see follow-up comments by Matt Duss, who observes:

Are there also radical Muslims in America right now trying to find ways to turn the U.S. into a religious state? Most likely, yes, and we should be on guard against it. It’s worth noting, however, that the Christian Right has failed at this for decades, in a country where over 75% of people identify as Christian. So good luck with that, radical Muslims.

To summarize: only 6% growth in mosque construction in the US for ten years. No impending Shari’a threat of takeover in the US or in Europe, and the worldwide bogeyman of the Muslim Brotherhood is not so much bogeyman as it is worldwide. So naturally, we spent a trillion dollars in Iraq to “clear the swamp” and now another trillion in Afghanistan, while China massively invests in electric cars, high speed rail, stem cell genetics, and ultramodern airports.



  • whaddayatakemefor

    Why not show a world map where radical Muslims have committed murder?
    What’s wrong? Not enough dots?

  • Erik

    The main argument against building the Park51 mosque adjacent to Ground Zero has been that its placement would be a lasting affront to the memory of the Americans who died at the hands of Muslim terrorists. And that argument is certainly sufficient by itself. But it is not the most important argument against a mosque in that location. To understand what is, we must remember what happened the last time we fought against suicide bombers, who, like their contemporary Muslim counterparts, were inspired by what they felt to be a divine mission.
    In the Second World War, Japanese suicide bombers posed a huge threat to allied ships. One pilot could take out a heavily fortified ship by crashing a plane stuffed with explosives into its deck, a result that would have taken a huge investment of lives and material to achieve by conventional means. The individual pilot faced certain death, but he accepted that fate because he believed that the Gods were with him and with Japan. The word used to describe this tactic (“kamikaze”) refers to an event in Japanese history where the country was saved from invasion and conquest by Kubla Khan. A sudden typhoon scattered the Khan’s fleet. The Japanese saw the wind as an intervention by their Gods, and so in WWII they called their suicide pilots another divine wind, that is, the kamikaze.
    The sense that the Gods are with you must be kept strong enough in the minds of suicide pilots to override the normal instinct for self-preservation, but that means that defeats and victories alike are leveraged. A great victory is not just something that advances your cause—equally important to the suicide bomber is that it strongly reinforces his sense that the Gods are with him; for did not the victory show that the Gods were smiling on Japan? This was also the basis of the Japanese soldier’s fanatical zeal toward fighting to the death, with surrender not being an honorable option.
    The enormously destructive bombing of Britain and Germany only brought out the stubbornness of the population, yet the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagakasi quickly broke the Japanese will to fight, even though their fighting spirit had been unmatched throughout the war. Why? Something is certainly due to the scope of the weapon used, but more important was the leveraging effect that defeats and victories have on people with a sense of divine mission. Catastrophes on the scale of Hiroshima could not be reconciled with the notion that the Gods were with Japan. The sense of a divine mission simply vanished. Japan not only surrendered (hitherto unthinkable for any Japanese soldier), but actually changed direction so completely that it soon became a peaceful democratic nation. By contrast, Germany only surrendered when virtually the entire nation had been destroyed.
    The case of Japan in WWII tells us why building the mosque at Ground Zero will not just offend American sensibilities—more important is that it will cost many additional American lives. Islamist suicide bombers too need to have the idea firmly in their minds that Allah is with them and their cause. That means that the same leveraging effect is in play. Great victories enhance the conviction that Allah is with them, and that will produce even more suicide bombers. Great defeats (for example, the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan) will begin to undermine that conviction; for how could Allah desert his warriors so?
    Who can doubt that potential and actual Islamic terrorists will take it as a sign from Allah when a huge mosque is built in the shadow of their greatest victory? Surely they will see it as Allah crowning their victory of 9/11 and making it even greater. And just as surely, they will see it as an invitation to even greater things than 9/11, because Allah has shown them again that he is with them. That is the psychology of terrorists with a sense of divine mission. And so we need to avoid at all costs anything that will be seen as a divine blessing for their efforts, and we should instead be looking for ways to hand them demoralizing defeats. If the divine wind blows in the other direction often enough, sooner or later believers will start to wonder whether it is in fact divine.
    What this means is that Imam Rauf has things exactly backwards. He tells us that a defeat for his project at Ground Zero will encourage the terrorists to more violence. To the contrary, it is the success of his project that will encourage the terrorists to more violence. A man as well versed in Islamic matters as Rauf must know this perfectly well—which makes his specious, devious argument to the contrary just one more reason to question his good-will and sincerity.

  • Anosh

    Islam critics say that Islam is warlike, and warlikeness contradicts religion, and therefore Islam is not a religion. But where in any dictionary does it say that a religion can’t be warlike? What is the essence of religion? It is a way of joining man to God. Each religion has its own characteristic ways of joining man to God. The way Islam joins man to Allah, or rather the highest way that Islam joins man to Allah, is through holy war, killing infidels or dying in the attempt. The highest spiritual experience to the Muslim, when he comes closest to Allah, most filled with Allah and with the conviction of eternal bliss with Allah, is when he is killing infidels for Allah. When Muhammad Atta and his band of fiends prepared to attack America, they purified themselves and immersed themselves in the holy texts, readying themselves to die for Allah. If a belief system in which men willingly die for their god is not a religion, then nothing is. So Islam is certainly a religion, but, paradoxically, it is a religion of war and killing. It is a religion, but an evil religion, which follows an evil god.
    Your typical anti-jihadists, who are ideologists themselves, are unwilling to take in this complex reality. They find it easier just to say that Islam is a political ideology and not a religion at all. I don’t entirely blame them, as they feel a need to eliminate confusing ambiguities so as to strengthen their case against Islam. But that doesn’t make their false picture of Islam, their denial that Islam is a religion in any sense at all, correct.

  • tonyl

    In the Quran Read Sutra 18:21 and you will know WHY Muslims insist on building a mosque over Ground Zero (they also built mosques, as symbols of victory, over Spanish churches in Cordoba and Seville and Segovia, and Agia Sophia in Constantinople)
    —-1. In the Quran Read (Kill Non-Believers). Sutra 9:5, 9:3, and 9:29 of the Koran effectively commands Muslims to kill the non-believers
    —-2. Democracy and Imposing Sharia Law). Sutra 5:48 makes it clear that Muslims do not accept the manner by which men choose to rule themselves (i.e. a Constitution, laws, Democracy), but that the Muslims must rule over us “in accordance with God’s revelations to you” (i.e. to the Muslims). This Sutra puts them in direct opposition to the Constitutions of all Western Countries.
    Here is what their Qur’an says about:
    —-3. Jews and Christians. Sutra 5:51, 5:54, and 5:60 label Jews and Christians as “pigs and monkeys”
    —-4. The Qur’an Supersedes All Previous Scripture. Sutra 5:48 and 5:57 establish that the Qur’an supersedes all previous scripture (i.e. including the Bible and the Torah)
    —-5. Later Verses of the Qur’an Supersede Earlier Ones (Sutra 5:48). This means that the last Sutras are what govern a devout Muslim and NOT the early ones. The latter ones are the ones calling for the killing of Jews and Christians.
    In fact, you might also want to note that Sutra 5 and 9 are among THE LAST THREE SURAS written. There are 114 Sutras in all. To a devout Muslim, these commands are clear. We live in dangerous times

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com Teed Rockwell

    TonyL: It’s “sura”,not “sutra”. Apparently you’re confusing the Koran with Hindu texts like the Kama Sutra.
    To Eric:
    “if an American president was a secret Muslim, and if he was lying about it, and even if he was secretly working to subvert the U.S. to Islam’s advantage — not only would such an approach comport with Islam’s doctrines on loyalty and deception, but it would have ample precedents, stretching back to the dawn of Islam.”
    And if there were a five pound invisible elephant sitting in my living room chair, the chair would appear to be empty. No sane person would conclude from this fact that there was a five pound invisible elephant sitting in my chair. The fact that there is no smoke does not prove that the fire is very carefully hidden.
    As for the rest of these comments: it is possible to interpret the Koran, and the Bible, and writings of Martin Luther and John Calvin, in such a way as to justify horrible behavior. Some Muslims and all Islamaphobes interpret the Koran this way. It does not follow from this that these are the only possible interpretations, or that all Billion Muslims interpret the Koran this way. If you want to find out how ordinary Muslims actually interpret the Koran, ask them. And don’t assume without any evidence that they must be lying because of your confused interpretation of Muslim doctrine. Your position then becomes an unfalsifiable delusion.

  • Teed Rockwell

    TonyL writes
    “—-1. In the Quran Read (Kill Non-Believers). Sutra 9:5, 9:3, and 9:29 of the Koran effectively commands Muslims to kill the non-believers”
    In order to reach this conclusion you have to read Sura 9:3, then skip over 9:4 to Sura 9:5. Sura 9:4 says that you should NOT kill non-believers unless they are planning on attacking you. Leaving out the word “not” kind of takes the quote out of context, wouldn’t you say?

  • Teed Rockwell

    “Before I continue, and in order to avoid any misunderstandings, I want to emphasize that I am talking about Islam, not about Muslims. I always make a clear distinction between the people and the ideology, between Muslims and Islam. There are many moderate Muslims, but the political ideology of Islam is not moderate and has global ambitions. It aims to impose Islamic law or Sharia upon the whole world. The way to achieve this is through jihad. The good news is that millions of Muslims around the world – including many in Germany and the Netherlands – do not follow the directives of Sharia, let alone engage in jihad. The bad news, however, is that those who do are prepared to use all available means to achieve their ideological, revolutionary goal.”
    So some Muslims want to conquer the world, and some don’t. All evidence points to the fact that the first group is less than .1% of the Muslim population. Yet the minority is considered to be the true Islam, and the majority is not. Apparently the danger is not even a person or group of persons but an “IT” which somehow plans to spread sharia as if it were some sort of computer virus.
    I don’t have time to refute all the lies and fallacies in this speech. It’s so much easier to lie that to refute lies. You don’t have to do any research, just make stuff up, however it suits you. Aziz, Why don’t you take this down, and my comment with it? This man is clearly dangerous and evil. Closing down Churches, deporting people in the name of freedom. The same tactics Hitler used, only with Muslims as the scapegoats instead of Jews.

  • Tom Mac

    yet you do nothing ..no raising of voices to stop those who preach death and carry signs to kill all non-believers. Your silence is very suspicious. Christians rise up against radicals..Why do you not. That is the same as supporting them..Show me the action behind your “Words.”…..
    Nobody believes that Islam is a religion of PEACE anymore, and you do nothing…

  • Bill Boggett

    O.1% of one billion is one million. ONE MILLION people who are willing to commit atrocities in tbe name of their god. Each one of these people is capable of acts that a normal human being would consider repugnant. The reason Americans don’t want mosques in thier backyards is that there is no way to know if that mosque will be moderate or not. Even in a moderate mosque, if there is even ONE young man bewitched by the messages of the Wahabbism it can lead to community tragedy. THAT is what people are afraid of.

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com Teed Rockwell

    I said “less than .1%”, not 1%. I don’t know what the figure is, and you don’t either, but my guess is that it is in the low thousands. Certainly fewer people than who are in the Mafia, yet no one demands that all Italians be blamed for the Mafia’s actions. If you want to protect a young man from being infected by Wahhabism, a local moderate mosque is the best strategy to counter the misinterpretations of Islam that will be found on the internet. The real danger, by the way, is Qutbism, not Wahhabism. The Wahhabis do not support terrorism, (except against Israel in some cases) although they believe an awful lot other things that I find repellent.
    Saying to Aziz “Your silence is very suspicious” is pretty bone-headed since his previous post was a petition signed by Muslims in favor of free speech, that specifically defended the founders of “draw Muhammad day. YOu might also want to check my blog listed above for Muslims speaking out against Islamic extremism. Click on the Tag “muslim outrage”.

  • http://www.al-hidaayah.travel/ Umra

    One hopes good sense prevails and the freedom to worship as enshrined is upheld.

  • http://www.haj.co.uk Hajj

    Worship life as everyday brings a new destiny!

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