A cautionary tale this morning.
It has been reported today that a new, 21,000 sq ft mosque capped with a huge, crescented green dome (meant to replicate Mohammed’s mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia) will officially open on Saturday for the Sacramento region’s estimated 65,000 Muslims (in addition to the other large and small mosques now prominently ‘inhabiting’ the Sacramento landscape). The new Masjid and Center for Higher Islamic Learning was built by SALAM, the Sacramento Area League of Associated Moslems. It is part of the larger Salam Center, a place which my wife and I had the occasion to visit last month.
According to founder Metwalli Amer, the Salam Center now holds Friday prayers for some 800 Muslims including about 40 converts to Islam. Amer goes on to say that the mosque will be open “to all members of the community, regardless of religion or gender” (based on Amer’s comments about converts I think you can infer why it will be so open). “This will truly be an American Islamic center – it’s moderate, it reaches out, it works with others. . . We’re accepted not just tolerated.”
Rashid Ahmed, the Pakistani American founder of the Sacramento chapter of CAIR, echoes this ‘moderation’ thought: “Salam has done a wonderful job of maintaining a moderate, tolerant path showing we can live together with others. It’s easy to fall into the extremes.”
Speaking of extreme, now back to why my wife and I were at the ‘moderate’, ‘reaching-out-to-others’ Salam Center last month, even before the new mosque officially opened. Along with about 15 other Israel advocates, we were there to protest the appearance of the infamous Hajo Meyer and his despicable ‘Never Again’ tour. Meyer, apparently an 86 year old German-Dutch Holocaust survivor, is carted around the United States by Muslims to mosques, universities, and civic centers carrying his message of hatred against Israel. What is happening on the West Bank and in Gaza, Meyer preposterously declares, is in some ways worse than what happened to Jews in the Holocaust. In one of his appearances in Sacramento, Meyer said that shooting Israeli civilians and soldiers is a perfectly acceptable thing to do.
Before Meyer spoke at Salam, a large group of local rabbis and other Jewish leaders such as California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (all of whom the Salam Center and CAIR had so disingenuously ‘reached out’ to) wrote letters to the Imam at Salam urging him to disinvite Meyer. These pleas fell on deaf ears.
And yet Steinberg now can say: “I’m still proud we are a community that respects and welcomes all faiths. The fact a mosque can grow and expand without the kind of rancor we saw in New York City speaks very well of Sacramento’s Muslim American community and Sacramento in general. Muslim leaders here are very active in building community ties.“ (Of course, in the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that Steinberg has been working with CAIR for years–even going so far as to co-host an Iftar dinner at the end of Ramadan at the state Capitol that was organized by CAIR.)
Finally, according to Dr. Salam Al-Marayati, the new mosque in Sacramento differs from the approximately one thousand other mosques in the United States which are often ‘ethnocentric’: “Salam is going full force into the American mainstream.”
Infiltrate a community, enlist witting or unwitting spokesmen, create the delusion of moderation, expand and grow, send out the real message of hate–such is the nature of the spread of Islam.