Texas Baker Cooks-up Controversy with Muslims

December 6, 2006 § 80 Comments

Katy, TX, a township within the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan area. Population, roughly a whopping 11,800, so why is a big-time New York City Metropolitan-Muslim blogger like Abu Sahajj writing about Katy, Texas? Well, its because Katy Texas is also the home of a ridiculous civil conflict, between the Muslims of Katy, Texas and some of the local residents of the township.

As the story goes, the Katy Islamic Association (K.I.A.) has purchased 11 acres just south of interstate 10 and raised the money to build a mosque and school in the community as well. However, the K.I.A. is realizing that building a mosque in Katy may not be as smooth as expected, as some of the locals are opposed to the idea. One such local, Mr. Craig Baker a shop owner has organized a protest against the Islamic association’s efforts by holding a weekly pig race on a neighboring stretch of land not far from the building site, during jumu’ah (Friday the Muslim day of congregation).

As anyone can guess, this is a deliberate attempt to dissuade the Muslims from building their school and prayer center. For Muslims the consumption of pork is expressly forbidden, the animal is considered filthy and the tendency is to avoid contact with such animals. Though overall the community has disparaging views of the building the Houston Chronicle reports Baker saying,

“[H]e bears no malice toward Muslims, and does not object to construction of the mosque and other buildings if they comply with county codes. He charged, however, that mosque workers illegally started building a parking lot whose impermeable surface would contribute to area flooding.”

Baker claimed that the protest was inspired when the K.I.A. asked him to move his business from the neighboring area. However, the association’s board member Ahmer Feroze denies those claims in a statement also saying that they expected backlash after the purchase but not of such an intensity.

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§ 80 Responses to Texas Baker Cooks-up Controversy with Muslims

  • Dirty Butter says:

    I read through all the links you listed and followed a few more. This is quite a situation developing in a small town. As usual, in such things, the stories available give conflicting views of how it all started, so there’s no way to assess the truth from what I was able to read. If the mosque land was purchased without realizing they were building next to a farmer who owned pigs … they brought the conflict on themselves by poor planning. If the farmer brought in the pigs to cause the Muslims to change their minds … the Muslims have every right to be there and should try to work toward a peaceful solution to the problem.

    Regardless of whether Mr. Baker was a pig farmer or not, the pig races are a particularly crude way of handling the dispute, and cannot be condoned.

    PS. I’m still waiting to see the BLOG VILLAGE voting link, so I can vote for you.

  • Asalaamu alaikum, Abu Sahajj! Thanks for including the link to my blog. A few area residents have posted on the blog today, offering a bit more insight into the situation, at least from the masjid’s neighbors’ perspective. I’m not clear why the KIA hasn’t had a stronger voice in this situation. The coverage I saw often focused on how “cute” the pigs were – I thought the TV story you linked to was particularly biased toward Mr. Baker and his neighbors. I haven’t seen any followup media coverage and I don’t even know the status of the story right now. I’ll keep you updated. Thanks and jazak Allah khair.

  • isa parada says:

    Asalaamu alaikum

    I am Houston and have been apart of the community for 10 years and one thing that this shows is the lack of dawah efforts from K.I.A. This is not the first time where muslims in our area have build a mosque in an area where people were not comfortable with them in their community. They just build the mosque without interacting with the community they were going to be apart of an expected everything was going to be ok.

    Insha Allah we will learn from this

  • abdursalaam says:

    It just goes to show that things are still very bad and bigotry runs deep.

  • Robert Chaney says:

    The Katy, Texas opposition to a Muslim mosque is nothing
    compared to the opposition to a Christian church in
    Saudi Arabia! The Muslims there will not allow Christians
    to build a church. Muslims here want Christians to be
    tolerant, but Muslims appear to be the most intolerant
    people of all.

  • Hi Robert Chaney. Your comment points to a very big problem American Muslims have – being equated with Muslims overseas, or even worse, with the governments of foreign countries.

    There is basically nothing about the Saudi government’s treatment of non-Muslim religions that has anything to do with me, or with the Muslims of Katy! And any Muslim’s intolerance doesn’t negate my own sense of tolerance. We’re not all one worldwide monolith!

  • Michael Kotyk says:

    I am a Christian and I fully support the right of the KIA to build a mosque upon their own property! This nation has laws and those laws must be enforced equally and without discrimination. We all have the right to practice our faith freely and without harassment. This right was not made just for Christians, but all faiths including Muslims and Jews. Mr. Baker and his ‘friends’ are suffering from a disease called intolerance. Left untreated, it leads to fear, paranoia and sadly, sometimes violence. People like him in Katy, Texas need to be stood up to. I have written emails to the press and to the ACLU requesting wide broadcast of the stuggle in Katy and for legal protection for the KIA. You have my prayers and my full support. God bless, Michael Kotyk

  • Abu Sahajj says:

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam,

    “his is quite a situation developing in a small town.”

    Fortunately, it is happening though. I say fortunately, because obviously the country is going through a psycho-demographical change. The religion of the Muslims is everywhere literally and has been embraced by more Americans since 9/11 than it has since it presence in the early history of this nation (see story). These things must occur in order to divise an eventual solution.

    The conflict in Katy is not disjointed from others that can presently be seen throughout the Western World or the Muslim World for that matter. Recently, G.W. Bush admitted that the circumstances in Iraq are “bad” and he and the entire world knows that the United States is responsible, at least in part, for the current conditions in the region. So with all that said… I think the circumstances in Katy should be expected. Muslims in this country are coming out of their shells, self-absorption, fear or whatever you want to call it. Not only in terms of their own lives but how they exist in the minds of Americans, which is of equal importance.

    “The Katy, Texas opposition to a Muslim mosque is nothing compared to the opposition to a Christian church in Saudi Arabia! “

    Mr. Chaney, what we first must do is draw the line around parallels, once we’ve analyzed and identified parallels concerning the conflicting groups (as in your example) then and only then can we make a conclusion. So in you example you compared the treatment of Muslims, of which there is a minority to Christians in Saudi Arabia, who are also a minority. But note that even though they are similarly minorities in the respective countries they are not parallels and cannot be compared without examining the context.

    The US is a democracy (ruled by the people), a country of pluralism and capitalism, founded on the ideals of Liberty. Saudi Arabia is a theocracy (ruled by a religion), a country of social equity and moralism founded on the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. The reason the groups mentioned in your example are not parallel is because the Muslims (increasing in number) are a part of the people, in a democracy the people rule. Therefore the Muslims in this country have value and power.

    On the other hand, in Saudi Arabia its not the people per-se but the religion that is the authority. Therefore, to develop churches and synagogues in areas other than those designated means to unwittingly introduce a rival to the nations authority. Why on earth would those in favor of their governing system want to do that? They wouldn’t…

    I hope I have been clear as this is the first time I have ever written about this subject. If I am mistaken in the details of this discussion, I ask that someone please add or correct where necessary, insha’allah

    wasalaam

  • DrM says:

    Whats funny to me is how Robert Chaney tries to equate whats happening in Katy to Saudi Arabia, a country he can’t find on a map, much less knows a thing about except the neocon rubbish he internalized from the media.

  • Sana says:

    I’m here in Houston not too far away from Katy. I’m originally from NJ, but I can’t say I’m surprised by this episode.
    I really think a lot has to do with how self segregated some of the communities are down here. Houston is a big city with a small town feel. Although many people, nonMuslims especially, are very friendly and courteous outwardly, they don’t socially interact with people outside their . There are very large ethonocentric communities here. Furthermore, religion is big in Texas. Coming from NJ I was pleasantly surprised by the greater role religion plays in many families here – and evangelical religion here is strong no matter what faith.
    Although I admit that there are some stubborn bigots in Texas, sometimes people change their perceptions of things based on their personal experiences.
    For example, for many people I meet through work, I am the first Muslim woman wearing a head scarf, or even the first Muslim, they have socially interacted with. They are often surprised to find the meeting comfortable or pleasant. I will admit that I too am surprised at times. However it’s not just a short courteous conversation that gets people to view others differently. Sometimes it’s sharing activities, familiar experiences, or just caring about the other that wins a level of trust that allows for tolerance.
    Honestly, I just feel that Muslims need to be real with ourselves and others at all times, and that we should not forget our state as a minority Muslim community here.
    I really hope the Katy crisis smoothes out. The whole pigs thing…pigs are animals, looking that them is not haram in any way – especially not in a state whose staple diet is pork and beans. I understand that the store might be doing it purposefully. However, perhaps if we took our little kids to go see some piggy races, the people there might even be surprised to see us enjoying something they enjoy. As for the store owner, he might never change, but I hope the Katy Muslim community will learn to deal with this insult in a smart way, and I’m sure the womenfolk in the Baker family will remind Mr. Baker of the “gentleman” thing to do.

  • Abu Sahajj says:

    “Sometimes it’s sharing activities, familiar experiences, or just caring about the other that wins a level of trust that allows for tolerance.”

    I’m glad you are there showing Texans that Muslims are not like what Fox 5 might have you believe. Please, keep it up, it seems like there is da’wah in you just being there.

    maa’ salaama

  • M. Ansari, CTC says:

    Generation of ignorance and bigotry cannot be corrected overnight in Texas. We need to follow what our prophet Mohmammed did under similar circumstances. But in modern times, weapon is a great equalizer, all things being equal. Muslims should not take law into their hands, but apply for conceal carry permits and “Carry” when travelling to Katy or living in Katy.

    Such an attitude has a great deterrence against any hate crime. Sometimes to have to speak in their language for desired effect. As they say, an armed society is a polite society. Put NRA ( National Rifle Association ) stickets on the cars/trucks for more effect along with Islamic stickers.

    I hope & pray my fellow brothers & sisters find wisdom in my words.

    Jazakallah.

  • Hakim says:

    “Generation of ignorance and bigotry cannot be corrected overnight in Texas. “

    I would like to ask what is the difference between the “ignorance” of non-Muslims in Katy, TX and that of non-Muslims in Toledo, OH. The reason I ask is because, though the non-Muslims in both Katy and Toledo are or were unfamiliar of Islam, they received two different responses from the citizens of the townships. In Katy it is primarily negative, whereas Toledo finds positive and supportive responses non-Muslims concerning the presence of an Islamic Center.

    So what are the differences? I will suggest two that I find most notable:

    1. The treatment and role of women in the Islamic Center.

    2. The Centers were erected at two different time periods in American history. One was pre-9/11 and the other post-9/11.

    Can you guess which is “pre” and which is “post” 9/11?

  • petr says:

    M ansari
    gee, you think you want to resolve your freedom of religion by joining nra and get yourself a concealed weapon permit? gosh, that will basically antagonize more local natives and guess what, the next thing you know is that the sheriff started to come down hard on you, the pd started to come down hard on you. need i say more? if islam is a religion of peace, act like one. a bit of humility during this “mccarthy”-like era does not hurt. too much macho will get you nowhere but the ground.

  • Millie says:

    Gosh and gee Petr, I wasn’t aware that the right to bear arms was for members of the Christian right only. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I lived in Texas for a number of years and apparently to be considered Texan you had better know your way with a gun (which I do…had to…prerequisite for living in Texas!!) It wouldn’t hurt to know how to defend yourself … and who knows…maybe there could be some bonding of Muslims with the locals at the neighborhood shooting range.

  • shannon says:

    why wont the muslims take the polygraph test offered by Mr Baker to prove what the muslims said is true about Mr Baker should pack up and move out? Just take the test and be done with it. If you didnt lie then you should have no problem with taking the test. Go to americanpigrace.com to get the other side of the story. May change your mind or make you question who is telling the truth and who is not.

  • shannon says:

    I forgot, then they called him a liar for stating they did not say that. I live in Katy and am familiar with the area. It is all homes out there. A Mosque does not belong in the middle of a residential area. There is plenty of land in this area where they can build. The people here arent intolerant. That area is surrounded by homes. What about the flooding from the construction of the complex? All the questions have not been answered sufficiently by the KIA. Take the polygraph test and see who is the liar.

  • DrM says:

    Shannon, get over yourself. Polygraph tests? Flooding? Come off it. Just say you don’t want Muslims in your run down excuse of a town, with polygraph testing of course… so predictable and so very backward.

  • shannon says:

    Dr M, Have you ever been here? I am not a backward person. How just like YOU intolerant people to use that card when someone disagrees with you. I invite you to this sprawling town of over 200,000 people. We are backed up to Houston, the 4th largest city in the nation sir with 5 million people. You cant tell the boundaries between the 2 cities. One melts into the other. But how like someone who does NOT know to accuse. Get YOUR facts straight. Go to the web page I linked and read for yourself. It isnt about intolerance, it is about a mans HONOR in a community he helped found and being called a liar and intolerant by people who are really themselves liars. Why would Mr Baker offer lie detector tests to prove his innocence? It is his company, and reputaion on the line. It wasnt MY idea. WOuldnt the test solve some of the issues? Seems like a good idea to me. Then again those who are usually in the worng tun down an offer of lie detector test. Katy has one of the top rated school districts IN THE SECOND LARGEST STATE OF THE USA. Get your info right. COme see for yourself. You look pretty stupid making your accusations with no info to back it up. And yes, there are codes of construction out here. We live in a FLOOD plain. You cant put concrete parking lots in areas where there is flooding hazards. That property backs up to Barkers resevoir if not IN IT. Texas is flat down here if you dont know. We happen to have been built in rice farming country. You put concrete in one area the rain only has one area to go to, PEOPLES HOUSES. I have lived in California (orange cty) and Alaska (Anchorage). I am most proud to live in Texas. People are honest and FRIENDLY here. I laugh at your attempt. YOU look backwards and your accusations VERY predictable.

  • shannon says:

    I just went and re read Hakims intro to this story. Let me set you metropolitan big wig city folk straight on a few FACTS. He states the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown Metropolitan area population of a whopping 11,800.. then states so why is a big time New York City Metropolitan-Muslim…

    FACTS: SUgarland is to the SOUTH of Katy off of hwy 59 and hwy 6 (Katy is off of I 10 to the west of Hou.). It is one of the fastest growing, best places to raise your kids as stated in the BEST PLACES TO RAISE YOUR FAMILY list. It has more people than Katy and it too mixes in with Houston. YOU CANT TELL THE DIFFRENCE when you pass into one form the other. Baytown? Get real. Baytown is on the OTHER SIDE OF HOUSTON going EAST on I-10. It takes me approximately an HOUR from Katy to Baytown. As we are on the far west of Houston Baytown is on the far EAST of Houston on opposing sides of I-10. Just minor facts right? Or something else? Why use the terms BIG TIME NEW YORK CITY METROPOLITAN_MUSLIM as compared to Katy, TX, a township within the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan area. Population, roughly a whopping 11,800? Trying to sway the reader eh? If you want to say we are backward just becasue we live in a state known in history as cowboys and indians then I guess it would be fair to say New Yorkers are rude, big mouthed liars with no moral compass whatsoever? That is the typical stereo type is it not? No, that wouldnt be fair. It wouldnt be right. Be responsible with your reporting and do your homework.

    Baker is a town. Just like all those little cities blended into each other out near Los Angeles. You cant tell the difference when driving. Katy has a Katy proper (downtown) and a large area addressed as Katy but not IN the city of Katy. It is all the same though. There is not a big yellow line diffrentiating when you cross form one to the other.

  • Hakim says:

    Hi Shannon,

    You are getting very emotional – however I can understand because you feel that the things you value most are under attack – but I must first ask you to review the comment policy before we go further.

    With that said I would like to draw your attention to this statement,

    “Why use the terms BIG TIME NEW YORK CITY METROPOLITAN_MUSLIM as compared to Katy, TX, a township within the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan area.”

    It is this statement that other heartlander’s and southerners have addressed me on. I find it interesting, that a joke – meant as a satirical stab at my own unimportance more than a condesending statement of Texans – was taken and exploited as a reason for distrust and attack.

    Your agenda will be foiled by your lack of perspective, but I feel that if solidarity is what you folks in Katy, both Muslim and non-Muslim, truly want you will achieve it. What we need here in this thread and in Katy is a reasonable dialogue.

    We must first understand what the problem is, beyond the current stir. What I mean is a clear identification of the offenses regardless of sequence – that in itself is one of the problems, is it not?

    This can start with refraining from further demonization – though this has become a media issue, we can reject negative influence by the media including blogs such as mine – this will help wound to heal. The more demonization occurs the longer it will take for the wounds to heal.

    Secondly, Muslims need to stop harping on the offenses as part of some conspiracy against them. Their must be an element of trust in order for the conflict to subside and come to a successful resolve.

    Third, there needs to be a clear understanding of each groups legal right, regardless of popular opinion. Not that popular opinion isn’t important, but if one’s legal rights cannot be exercised in the face of unpopularity, we do not live in a society that employs freedom, liberty and justice as a means for social order it would then be a sophistical society.

    Fourthly, the non-Muslim citizens of Katy need to understand the Muslim people. There must be some clarity into the reasonings of Muslim society otherwise there is only opposition, what other options are there? In that there is a reasonable and logical idea behind the Mosque’s choice in location: typically, in Muslim society the town and towns people are situated and developed around the mosque, as the mosque is the center of the community.

    This implies many things… for one if the mosque has a school it must be in a convenient location for the mothers and children. Perhaps the number of Muslims in the area is low and it doesn’t make sense to the people of Katy, but this planning is probably due to an anticipation that an increase in converts will occur over time, which is very likely, regardless of what angst and disagreement folks may imbue.

    Lastly, it must be remembered that ultimately any progress and reconstruction of this community will occur once the practice of justice (‘adl), compassion (ihsan wa rahma) and knowledge (ilm) are acquired and utilized in the resolution of events.

    maa’ salaama

  • Asalaamu alaikum and hello to everyone.

    I want to note, in fairness to the people of Katy/Houston, TX 77094 (some residents call for a clear distinction), the issue is not as black and white as Craig Baker with his pig races would make it seem. I have a follow-up post about this at my blog in which I note that Mr. Baker is now selling merchandise on his web site and soliciting sponsors for the pig races – the first of which was held on December 29.

    The pig races are now all about the money, as far as I can tell. The story has gone worldwide and has muted the voices of the residents there, both KIA and not. If Mr. Baker would stop the pig races maybe there would be quiet enough for everyone to sit down and talk calmly. He claims to be taking a stand but he’s just inflaming the situation and bringing embarrassment to area residents like Shannon. I truly believe Mr. Baker does not represent the sentiments of the people living in that area. They have legitimate concerns and the KIA has a right to respond. That fact has nothing to do with pigs.

  • Truth says:

    Tell the truth. People of Katy liked things the way they were. If you build a big Islamic center, Muslims will come. The city as they know it will change. Maybe they like it the way it is. Why is that minority communities can say they want to keep their communities the way the are and it is ok? People in this country are being forced to move because of massive immigration and they may be getting tired of it. I would suggest you contact your congress people and tell them you are tired of being pushed out of yours homes by massive immigration. This is human nature not bigotry.

  • shannon says:

    I hope Mr Hakim you also sepcifically pointed out to the numerous writers with just as emotional dialogue as I have written their ‘mistakes’ in doing so. Being a muslim blog I of course will be the only one writing FOR Mr Baker.

    Ruth, do your homework. The money goes to CHARITY. Dont report patrial truth just to get your point across. You prove my point. 77094 is not the only zip code. Like I said, it is a large area. Other zip codes are 77494, 77493, 77492, 77491, 77450, 77449. In 450 alone there are 48, 000 plus residents. That one is adjacent to the one you are refering to. In the school district (44schools covering an area of 181 SQUARE miles with 6 high schools in 5A) there are 50,000 students.

    Yes, perspective is important. I havent mentioned yet have I that I work with and for a Muslim company. I frequently talk with my employers/ coworking MUSLIMS on these hot topics. They actually agree with the hypersensitivity of people (muslims and christians alike) who want to complain when situations dont go their way. These arent American muslims, they are IMMIGRANT Muslims livnig the American dream honestly. Not once did I bring religion in this until this post. It seems that when people want to accuse without all the facts pulling the race/religion card is the easiest. Get the facts straight. I read the letter from the Muslims lawyer demanding they remove the pigs from his property or else they would bring suit for hatred against Mr Baker. Yet he states his client has every right to do what ever he wants to their property. Isnt that being a hypocrite? The land they bought was a pig farm before they bought it! So now Mr Baker has to remove his livestock just becasue Muslims dont like pigs? That is hypocrisy and crying foul becasue you think you have religious rights that supercede all else.

    Emotional Mr Hakim? Isnt that what this is all about? Isnt that what your Muslim writers have also been? I am passionate like you. I am sure you are a great person and you all mean well. But I have to say, not one of you have got your facts straight. You use half truths and made up things. What use do you have with making fun of our whopping population? I get it Mr Hakim. You are way more ahead of the game than I am. I concede to your great intelligence.

    Discussions such as these are healthy. It isnt about hate it is about fairness.

  • shannon says:

    Truth, there are many Mosques here in Katy and the surrounding areas. You are, like many else here, stereo typing our town. get your facts straight. There is an enormous Mosque in Sugarland. One of my clients gives me info on it all the time. Like I said, my boss goes to hhis Mosque and lives here in Katy. His staff also are Muslim. The whole company is Muslim. They live in Katy. I am a contractor. This isnt about religion to me. It is about fairness. Read into my posts what you will. It is about FAIRNESS. Get your facts straight. Read the letters.

  • shannon says:

    Hakim, jusat to make sure i didnt break any comment rules, I checked. It specifically states I cannot be abusive and post foul language. I have not done so in any of my posts. I am aware this is subjective and what is abusive to you may not be to me. I was just following the passionate one sided posts by your other posters and offering the other view. I will, however not comment again as I see this as being completely one sided. Your side. Thank you for the opportunity to post what I have though. Good luck to you and God bless you and yours.

  • Hakim says:

    “I hope Mr Hakim you also sepcifically pointed out to the numerous writers with just as emotional dialogue as I have written their ‘mistakes’ in doing so.”

    Please call me Hakim, Abdul-Hakim or Abu Sahajj (Sahajj’s Dad). Shannon, I thought that I was polite enough, perhaps not, I’m sorry to have to make you the scapegoat on this one, but you’re not the first, DrM, OmarG and others have also played this part for the sake of solidarity as well, and they understood, I hope you will as well.

    “I read the letter from the Muslims lawyer demanding they remove the pigs from his property or else they would bring suit for hatred against Mr Baker. Yet he states his client has every right to do what ever he wants to their property. Isnt that being a hypocrite?”

    Not necessarily, he is a lawyer is he not? I think what he is pointing out is that, he has legal rights over his property but there are also civil rights over him. For example, I own a home and property but that does not mean that I can post as sign that says I hate Arabs or Blacks or Muslims, that violates civil laws and is therefore a crime and worthy of legal action in civil court.

    In plain english these pig races are just not civil, in there intent and intent is everything.

    “You are way more ahead of the game than I am. I concede to your great intelligence.”

    *Smile* you sound like my wife… I mean you no offense but if you take offense to my words, masha’allah, God is the Best of Knowers, and I will ask Him for Guidance in further discussions on this issue… I suggest you do the same, insha’allah.

  • DrM says:

    I’ve been here many times before, Shannon. Infact I’ve run into your breed before, and as usual like the rest of your right wing compatriots you’re fooling no one.
    You have a lot of Muslim friends huh? Everybody who wants to build the mosque is an immigrant, while those who don’t agree with it are people like you with all your American Muslim friends. Right. What hubris. The fact that you’ve crept up immigration into this gives your petty bigotry away…

  • shannon says:

    I had 2 bosses form Egypt (one treated me like trash the other like gold. Just like bosses here in the USA) and worked with 3 more form the same country I think. My present boss has a secretary from South America who is Muslim. Why the fear and attacks Dr M? I back up all my info with truth. You just attack. What does immigration have to do with it? It was a fact I listed. They came here and became citizens. Big deal. Hakim, are you going to reprimand this guy for his rudeness as well?

  • shannon says:

    OOOhhh, I missed the WHITE TRASH COMMENT. What makes you think I am conservative OR white? You have no idea Dr M. How classy and NON RACIST of you Dr M. Once again accusations with out facts. And, not one person of Muslim faith or any other faith who stumbled in here like I did, standing up against that attack! Priceless! It is all about fairness and I did not attack your (asssumed) race, religion, nor political affiliation!

  • Hakim says:

    Shannon,

    DrM is right, you are going down the wrong path and I doubt you realize it. But be my guest as long as you stay within the limits of the “comment policy”.

    maa’ salaama

  • shannon says:

    Hakim, I read your post. I still dont see how The Muslims have more right just becasue they bought the land. Mr Baker has farmed ( raised livestock including pigs) his acreage for years. He has a right to raise any livestockk he so chooses just as the school on that road does. They, I beleive, also raise pigs, goats, etc. The land which the Muslims bought raised pigs as well. So, it has been established that that is fair game to raise. Have you read the letters Hakim? Have you read the responses?

    You ARE a better writer than I. Your wife is a smart woman to question you. SMile back. I have already asked my pastor for guidance on this issue. He actually lives over by that piece of land and I found out Mr Baker attends my church. I am sure he will have better insight. I am frequently worng and can admit it. I dont back down when someone is wornged. Ilike to gather all the facts and make ann informed decision. Not go off because of hypersensitivity. Although I have doen that as well. No one is perfect.

  • DrM says:

    Yawn. Come of it Shanon. I know that you’re… threatened by the presence of anyone who isn’t a far right wing… White trash is very descriptive of those who harbor this sort of backward mindset. Immigration is irrelevant, but you brought it up specifically because you hate immigrants. If you had a clue you’d know that mosques are open to all Muslims regardless of background, then again somebody who is offended at the term “mashallah” wouldn’t know any better would they? Your little charade is right out of any 1950s segregationists playbook. I’d like to see that Baker take a polygraph test, and if he thinks pig races will dissuade Muslims from attending the mosque, he’s in for a huge disappointment.
    Facts means little to you which is why you’ve been trolling this blog with multiple posts, all without any scintila of honesty. Do your supposed Muslim American bosses knowing you’re wasting time online posting nonsense while you should be working? You’ve got major issues, not the least of which is your emotional instability. A common malady afflicting those waiting for the rapture acid trip.

  • Sorry, Shannon. I was trying to defend you a little. I apologize if it didn’t come off that way.

    Mr. Baker is making the whole situation worse. I’m sure it won’t help anything for me to jump in this discussion either.

    Shannon, I wish you and your neighbors the best.

  • SD says:

    So DrM can call Shannon a “wild eyed hillbilly type” and “white trash” but it’s Shannon who gets reminded to review the comment policy? Sounds like typical Muslim-double-speak to me.

  • PatB says:

    DrM will refer to anyone that he disagrees with in this name calling race baiting fashion, pick any thread and scroll down to his responses.
    He has personal issues so I’d just move on and speak to others that are not so possessed.

  • Hakim says:

    OK this thread is getting off-topic and I would like to remind everyone of the comments I made earlier, which I feel are most important here,

    “[I]t must be remembered that ultimately any progress and reconstruction of this community will occur once the practice of justice (‘adl), compassion (ihsan wa rahma) and knowledge (ilm) are acquired and utilized in the resolution of events.”

    Perhaps, easier said then done, but then again, how would we know we have yet to practice it, at least in this thread.

    The letters seem to be of great importance to Shannon so perhaps we should discuss these letters? I think that is a reasonable move forward. Any thoughts?

  • gess says:

    well, how about this one:

    http://www.littlemosque.ca/

    (Note, it takes awhile to upload)

  • KatyResident says:

    Ruth said,

    “….. a very big problem American Muslims have – being equated with Muslims overseas, or even worse, with the governments of foreign countries. There is basically nothing about the Saudi government’s treatment of non-Muslim religions that has anything to do with me, or with the Muslims of Katy! ….. We’re not all one worldwide monolith”

    Okay Ruth, how can I distinguish between you and “those Muslims”?

  • Hi Katy Resident. I’m not sure who you mean by “those Muslims,” so I’m going to answer based on an assumption, and please forgive me if I misunderstand you.

    I’ll start by saying that my not being able to clearly identify who you mean demonstrates the very misunderstanding I mentioned in my post – Since I mentioned the Saudi government, do you want to know how to distinguish me from a Saudi prince? Or do you mean “insurgents” in Iraq? Or do you mean “suicide bombers” in Palestine? Do you mean the Taliban? Do you mean French Muslims rioting? Do you mean British Muslims plotting violence? Do you mean protestors of the “Mohammed cartoons” burning down churches and Kentucky Fried Chickens?

    My assumption is that you are thinking of all these when you say “those Muslims.” Again, please forgive me if I’m wrong.

    But if that is what you mean, I would say that the first way in which you can distinguish me from them is to recognize that there are millions of Muslims living in every country in the world who do not have political agendas, commit or plan violence or despise the west – and there are many Muslims across the world whose rational voices are merely silenced or muted by wars and violent conflicts they are powerless to start or stop. If you take a moment to understand the circumstances that lead people to those actions, you’ll be better able to understand that it’s not being Muslim that drives people to violence, but their circumstances. Who would blow himself up if his life is free and happy?

    So if you acknowledge that every Muslim does not have a violent agenda – which is only logical because the vast majority do not – then you would actually have to rule me in as a “terrorist,” not rule me out.

    Secondly, I would ask that you have an open mind and not make assumptions about me or my religion. If you ask me questions and get to know me, it will be very easy for you to recognize whether I’m a peaceful perseon or not. But if you automatically fear and distrust me you will never know for sure if I mean you harm. And the fact that you even consider that I might be someone with a violent agenda means you are willing to see yourself as a potential victim – and that’s a world you’ve made, not me.

  • Abdu says:

    I think this issue would never get as much attention as it did had Mr. Baker not held pig races on Friday. How do you expect us to believe that it is about “flooding”, and the place being built in a “residential” area when Mr. Baker is acting the way that he is?
    If he never decided to hold these pig races, then no one would “pull the race card”. I think it is just bad decision making on Mr. Bakers part.
    But in all fairness, I don’t think that the Katy Islamic Association is handling this situation very well either.
    I guess the funny thing is, is that no one is doing any thing illegal. If he wants to hold pig races, then that is perfectly legal, so is building a mosque. Even asking Mr. Baker to sell his property isn’t illegal.

  • DrM says:

    Katyresident, how do I distinguish between you and those who wear white hoods?

  • PatB says:

    Doc… I suspect the locals in Katy will work it out. A medium will be found as tempers, attitudes and time pass.
    Islam comes with a culture that is different. Difference, like change, is hard for folks to accept.
    This would be a challenge in some respects even without the world wide ‘conflict’ and all that entails.

  • PatB says:

    Ruth,

    I hear what you say and agree in principle “but” this newspaper article below concerns the supposed moderate Mosques of Britain. The same Wahhabi Saudi money has built Mosques and provided Imams to the US, as we all know.
    A certain sensationalism goes along with reporting so I’ve printed the whole article as some of the statements may have been taken out of context and you may decide yourself.
    Religions and people of a secular nature get very concerned when religious leaders make reference to ‘ruling’ and ‘local law’ as it applies to citizens in a country that have a ratified constitution.
    The Islamic teachers weren’t discussing the Haddiths, God or the soul etc. they were discussing political issues, conflict, and shaping thought as it applies to current allegiance.
    Wouldn’t this frighten you as an American if this took place here? Does it take place here? Yes, it has, and it does as reflected by some recent deportations.
    Does this relate to the Katy issue? I suspect it does in the minds of the people there. I’m not saying their response is fair or right either, but this concept is part of the equation.
    Many, not all, on this site believe that all of the Muslim radicals reside overseas and it is not appropriate to discuss it here, or radicalism is ignored as insignificant, or you are called a racist/hater for discussing touchy but relevant issues. Crying racism doesn’t address an issue, it’s just an attempt to shut someone up.
    I am not on this site because I am interested in Islam. I am on this site because it is an Islamic site in the public domain and Islam is more than a religion and has political implications that ‘could’ have an adverse effect on our present system as articulated by the article below.

    Jamie Doward
    Sunday January 7, 2007
    The Observer
    An undercover investigation has revealed disturbing evidence of Islamic extremism at a number of Britain’s leading mosques and Muslim institutions, including an organization praised by the Prime Minister.
    Secret video footage reveals Muslim preachers exhorting followers to prepare for jihad, to hit girls for not wearing the hijab, and to create a ‘state within a state’. Many of the preachers are linked to the Wahhabi strain of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, which funds a number of Britain’s leading Islamic institutions.
    A forthcoming Channel 4 Dispatches programme paints an alarming picture of how preachers in some of Britain’s most moderate mosques are urging followers to reject British laws in favour of those of Islam. Leaders of the mosques have expressed concern at the preachers’ activities, saying they were unaware such views were being disseminated.
    At the Sparkbrook mosque, run by UK Islamic Mission (UKIM), an organization that maintains 45 mosques in Britain and which Tony Blair has said ‘is extremely valued by the government for its multi-faith and multicultural activities’, a preacher is captured on film praising the Taliban. In response to the news that a British Muslim solider was killed fighting the Taliban, the speaker declares: ‘The hero of Islam is the one who separated his head from his shoulders.’
    Another speaker says Muslims cannot accept the rule of non-Muslims. ‘You cannot accept the rule of the kaffir [non-Muslim],’ a preacher, Dr Ijaz Mian, tells a meeting held within the mosque. ‘We have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others.’
    The 12-month investigation also recorded a deputy headmaster of an Islamic high school in Birmingham telling a conference at the Sparkbrook mosque that he disagrees with using the word democracy. ‘They should call it … kuffrocracy, that’s their plan. It’s the hidden cancerous aim of these people.’ The Darul Uloom school said it no longer employed the teacher and that one of the reasons he resigned ‘was the incompatibility of many of his opinions with the policies of the school’.
    When contacted by The Observer, UKIM said: ‘We are a nationwide organization and hold different programmes in our mosques. We are very concerned about this. We have instructed all our branches not to allow any more speakers with radical or fundamentalist views. This has occurred as a result of an internal problem. We hired out Sparkbrook community hall, and some of the organizations that hired it allowed some speakers with views that are not our own. As a result, no more external groups will be allowed to hire the community hall at Sparkbrook.’
    Elsewhere the documentary records the huge popularity of DVDs and internet broadcasts produced by extremist preachers. At the Islamic bookstore at Regent’s Park Mosque in central London, DVDs of a preacher called Sheikh Yasin are sold. In one DVD, Yasin, who is promoted on the mosque’s website, accuses missionaries from the World Health Organization and Christian groups of putting the ‘Aids virus’ in the medicine of African people, ‘which is a conspiracy’.
    Another DVD on sale features Sheikh Feiz, a Saudi-trained preacher. Feiz says: ‘Kaffir is the worst word that can ever be written, a sign of infidelity, disbelief, filth, a sign of dirt.’
    In a statement the company that runs the bookstore said: ‘We sell and supply a wide range of material and we do not necessarily agree with it. It is totally unfair to blame [us] for any of the views expressed in these lectures.’
    Elsewhere, another preacher at a mosque in the East Midlands is caught on film, praying: ‘God help us in our fight against the kaffir, in every field, in every department of life. We beg you to help us fight against the enemies of our religion.’
    Inside the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, a preacher is recorded saying: ‘Allah has created the woman deficient.’ A satellite broadcast from the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, beamed into the Green Lane mosque suggests that Muslim children should be hit if they don’t pray: ‘When he is seven, tell him to go and pray, and start hitting them when they are 10.’ Another preacher is heard saying that if a girl ‘doesn’t wear hijab, we hit her’.
    Another preacher says: ‘The time is fast approaching where the tables are going to turn and the Muslims are going to be in the position of being uppermost in strength and, when that happens, people won’t get killed – unjustly.’
    In a statement to Channel 4, Lord Ahmed, the convener of the government’s Preventing Extremism taskforce, said he was worried about the programme’s consequences: ‘While I appreciate that exaggerated opinions make good TV, they do not make for good community relations.’
    A spokesman for Green Lane mosque said Islam does not denigrate women and that the instruction to hit a child was merely a smack. He accused C4 of intensifying the ‘witch-hunt’ against Muslims.
    ‘Undercover Mosques’, Dispatches, goes out at 8pm on Monday, 15 January

  • PatB says:

    Hakim,
    Why did you modify my short response to Doc and not his comment?
    This is your site but I thought you would be some what impartial, I guess not.

  • DrM says:

    Impartial? Look who’s talking! Mr.Cut-and-Paste… Going from Texas to England Laughable yet so predictable.

  • Hakim says:

    “Katyresident, how do I distinguish between you and those who wear white hoods?”

    Because Doc’s response to Katyresident was addressing the topic. Katyresident is, essentially, asking how do I distinguish an American-Muslim from a “terrorist”? This is a legitimate question, Doc responded in a very Islamic way – Islamic sayings are chocked full of these little witticisms – by taking the question and changing the conditions to exploit the hypocrisy. He was not calling the person a name, which is what you were doing. If he had, his comment would have been moderated also (which they have, in this thread).

    But I should not have to explain why I chose to moderate a comment, should I? And this is the last time I am going to. The comment policy is clear and your comment to Doc was way off-topic and personal. Why don’t you take it off line with DrM.

  • PatB says:

    Hakim,
    Valid point on the comparison. I hadn’t completely read her post. My mistake.
    I do believe the article represents a common thread of radical exportation thru the ‘paid in full’ Saudi Wahhabi Mosque project that is going on world wide.
    I’m sure nothing like that happens in the US, as has been pointed out, because it is so far from Britain and because it is so difficult to get into this country.

  • DrM says:

    PatB just can’t bring himself to comment intelligently on a single topic, choosing instead to go off on anti-Muslim tangents which is the hallmark of his every post. The usual conspiracy theories peppered with the usual buzzwords which even he’s embarrassed to properly cite.

    And people wonder why I have such a low opinion of…

  • PatB says:

    Doc,
    I am commenting upon alleged illegal activity by highlighting sedition organized thru a religious venue (although a foreign example.) This ‘tangent’ speaks to the concerns of non Muslims as to moderate vs. radical Islamic centers/Mosques in their neighborhoods. Whatever the appropriate/innappropriate response by the people of Katy this is one of their major concerns and a contributing factor in their behavior.
    Because Islam is so politicized this concern cannot be wished away.
    BTW most all of the people I work with, of all colors, have these same concerns as we discuss them just about daily. I work in an Islamic country and have an opportunity to see the outcome of political Imams, politics thru the Mosque, affect everything. When we see this diplayed in the west it gives us pause. The people of Katy I believe have acted poorly, but their gut reaction is partially based in demonstrated and reported activities in our own country.

  • DrM says:

    Rubbish “patb,” you selectively pick and choose articles to show Muslims in the worst light… Your post is written by something so confused, it doesn’t know whether to scratch its watch or wind its behind. I don’t believe for a second you live in an Islamic country given the other falsehoods you’ve uttered. You’ve probably never traveled outside the US. You have a deep seated hatred of Muslims which is why you deliberately steer any discussion away from the central topic to your cut-and-paste antics justifying any Islamophobia. Your contribution to any dialogue is nil and irrelevent. You’re too ashamed to tell us the dubious sources you use because you know they’re just as phony as you are. Its a old and tired routine bible belt armageddonist degenerates often use…

  • PatB says:

    DrM,
    The dubious source for the above article was The London Observer news paper, very dubious. The items I’ve posted have been from numerous sites but generally; normal news items, Cogressional record or court recordings provided by those sites as a link (also very dubious) these are the same sites you look at as I look at the spectrum too.
    Actually Doc I live in Kandahar presently (civilian) and have spent the last 20+ years in Muslim countries and I come by my fear of radical Islam thru experience. I’ve seen the Sharia played out first hand and lived in countries where Islam is dominant (Saudi Arabia) and the Imams are involved in everything that happens (or they know the reason why).
    I still believe the post is relevant to the present discussion unless this site exists so you can all agree together and slap each others backs.
    I also note that you don’t dispute the thrust of my post but just denigrate the sender.
    That’s an old and tired radical Islamist routine to hide the truth….
    I’ve noted you do the same even with your Muslim posters, at least you are consistant.
    I am wary of Islam and have made no bones about it.
    So what?
    What is the central topic here?

  • DrM says:

    I’m talking about the other sources you never cite, because you know they are nonsense. The central topic is whats going on in Katy, Texas, so don’t play dumb and insist on quantifying your paranoia with unrelated tangents. You’re wary of Islam? Then don’t post here… Well, I’m wary of white trailer trash and their petty prejudices. Get over yourself, nobody cares what you think.
    Radical racist christofascist and judeofascist propaganda is lame and devoid of any scintila of truth, which explains why you parrot in every one of these lies and half baked anti-Muslim conspiracy theories in your irrelevent posts…

  • Asalaamu alaikum, Br. Hakim. I respect your blog very much, but I have to say, DrM would have been banned from mine long, long ago.

    I think PatB is fair and open-minded. The questions he asks are questions many Americans (and others) are asking these days, and they’re worthy of response and discussion.

    I’ll rejoin the discussion on this thread when DrM isn’t participating. Jazak Allah khair.

  • DrM says:

    Thats unfortunate, Ruth, but you are mistaken and naive. I am raising issues which Islamophobes are afraid of addressing because they know full well that their paranoia and hatred is built on a very shaky house of cards.
    If the bigots and charlatans can’t handle it, it just serves to illustrate their hypocrisy in not being able to stomach a dose of their own medicine. No respect or compromise with liars, haters and bigots with and without hoods.

  • Hakim says:

    “Asalaamu alaikum, Br. Hakim. I respect your blog very much, but I have to say, DrM would have been banned from mine long, long ago.”

    Thank you for the compliment Ruth. I understand your point, but I also have a reasoning behind everything I do on this blog. I’m sure that you can see that I have considered a lot concerning the direction of this site. DrM is no exception… this blog is a forum, a forum that – perhaps in the future – will become home to what I call a “spectrum of ideas”. In that, people will need to be able to work in an environment that does not necessarily resemble a typical Western model for diplomacy or negotiation.

    What I am trying to do here is allow for the spectrum to involve hostility. You see, no one wants to deal with hostility, but hostility in most cases is not insanity, it is, in most cases a severe response to an egregious condition.

    Therefore to isolate hostiles is not helpful, especially if – in light of their hostility – they bring to the table an unequivocal usefullness. This blog is my work, if you choose to bow out, that is your choice, however as you can see the popularity of this blog has quadrupled in six months which means the model is working.

    I am not paying for advertising or searching for a million ways to increase readership, this blog is growing on the strength of the model and that is to ‘keep it real’ and not candy-coat life. The “spectrum of ideas” can only be that if the panoramic field of responses are accepted here – within the limits of the comment policy – and they are.

    Besides, angry people are good… you can learn a lot from an angry person. However, a scared person is dangerous… much more dangerous.

  • PatB says:

    Hakim,
    I beg your indulgence to respond to the racism charge as it is slightly off topic but comes up quite regularly.
    I do not hate Muslims but am concerned about radical Islamic Muslims.
    I work regularly with a Mullah here in Kandahar, see him often and have done some projects with him. He is a very kind and gentle man that I enjoy greatly, we take tea often and discuss things openly. We often disagree, but in a gentlemanly manner. I openly call him a ‘crazy Pashtun’ and he calls me a ‘crazy American’ as a term of endearment. If he, or those like him, were the Public face of Islam there would be no issues but he is not. Most Americans experience is sensational violence (some valid issues others not) and closer to home the Nation of Islam. Neither a good example to set ones hopes upon. I know better than that but I’ve lived in Shariah and that concerns me as the article stated many Imams want that power to control everything that happens in the local arena.
    I could give many example of why Sharia concerns me but won’t here.
    No Doc, I don’t wear a white hood and have done my best to improve the conditions of the Aghans I work with and they are 100% Muslim some Sunni some Shia (not far from Iran here).
    As Ruth pointed out I am speaking in general terms and concentrating on issues in the minds of many, many Americans of all colors.
    This relates directly to the Katy Mosque issue even if unspoken by the locals. How can they not relate the overwhelming events of today with a local one they are unsure of?
    I’ve come close to responding in kind but have found a
    conversation with a higher source a better outlet.

  • Abdu says:

    “I’ve lived in Shariah and that concerns me”
    I don’t know of any countries that are run by sharia.

  • PatB says:

    Abdu,
    I am not sure of the technical correctness of my statement. As an example in this Islamic state local crimes, to include murder, are often turned over to the local Mullah’s for adjudication.
    Recently a butcher in Kandahar murdered his wife (just prior to Ramazan – they call it Ramazan here). Kandahar is a city but one made up of neighborhood enclaves like villages.
    After the deed he came back to the city and publically announced his murdering her.
    He said she had consented to have sex with him in the desert and he killed her for being a whore and bringing shame upon her family and village.
    He told everyone where her remains were (he had quartered her).
    The Police turned this over to the Mullah as it had religious linkage.
    The Mullah chastised the man saying he had no right to take this into his own hands.
    The Mullah took the mans word and said that even though he had no right to do this the woman was wrong for being with him although no one knows those circumstances.
    The Man was commanded to pay the blood tax to the husband and his familiy by providing one of his own daughters as a substitute.
    Daughter given to new family (not as a daughter replacement but will be more of a servant) and all is well.
    This was based by the Mullah on his religious teachings and accepted by all as ok.
    That’s what I mean.
    The Mullah I know and respect understood this and defended it as just under Islam. To keep the peace.
    I pointed out that the person paying for the crime was the young girl.
    He pointed out that no, the Man paid as he had to give up his young girl (as she is property).
    I then told my friend that since the butcher has 5 more daughters he can kill 5 more women….The Mullah laughed, tilted his head and pulled his beard and called me a ‘crazy American’ where do I get such ideas?

  • PatB says:

    Gents, I made a typo in that explanation, the butcher murdered his neighbors wife. Sorry.

  • Hakim says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,

    bismillah ar-rahman ir-rahim

    DrM, I must ask you to refrain from violating the comment policy. You have forced my hand, to continue further is to disrespect me. In addition, I do not take pleasure in moderating your comments. It takes away from the time I need to create interesting posts.

    Please keep in mind, the focus of this blog is on human interests, which is why insults and blatant hubris is not acceptable.

    Nearly the entire panel of commenter’s has complained, this cannot be ignored. Please adjust your approach or face banishment, my first and final warning.

    Note: I attempted to address you in a discrete fashion however, your email addresses returned as “Failed”.

  • Abdu says:

    Although I am not a mullah, this is the first time I ever heard of giving your daughter away. I know for a fact in the Qur’an it states that the family of the person killed can decide whether they want the murderer to face death, or to pay blood money. But the daughter is not considered a slave in Islam. On the contrary, before Islam the arabs used to bury their children when they found out it was a girl, Islam came and abolished that heinous act.

  • PatB says:

    Abdu,
    I’d not heard of that either but here, in large families of the poor children are sometimes ‘pre married’ or given to another family on a pledge of later marriage at a very young age (6,7years old). They are taken horseback to the gaining family as a sign confirming the deal. I suspect for this poor man this was actually considered as a light sentence. All of the daughters kind of a burden but I don’t know. There is an Islamic Court that deals with these kinds of issues. A high profile one was the Christian convert that the Mullahs wanted put to death as an apostate under the National law and Karzai found a way around that by having him declared insane before he escaped the country. The real story was he had been a Christian for 14 years and was going to get custody of his kids as his divorced wife died. His parents complained to the Islamic Court and denounced him as an apostate to keep control of the children. If this had not been a high profile story he would have been killed.
    I’m not comfortable with Religious leaders, well intentioned or not, making secular decisions. There was a New York Times article recently outlining this same practice in a New York suburb that was predominately Muslim immigrants. The article was meant to be lauditory but they outlined spouse abuse (iron on the face) and how the Imam handled it (no official police action etc). The Imam only speaks a foreign language and said he had no intention of learning English. It sounded familiar to me and not in a comfortable way.

  • Hakim says:

    “I’m not comfortable with Religious leaders, well intentioned or not, making secular decisions. “

    Is there really a big difference, was it religious leaders that are responsible for these tragedies?

  • Abdu says:

    I am not comfortable with so called religious leaders making secular decisions that are un-Islamic.
    If people would follow the correct Islamic Sharia 100%, then things would be a whole lot better. There would be more justice, and less crime, less corruption…but it is when people follow their own man-made laws that you see all these injustices happen.

  • Hakim says:

    “I am not comfortable with so called religious leaders making secular decisions that are un-Islamic.”

    Which brings us to the subject that is – in my opinion the nut of it all – Muslim leadership. We have a problem with Muslim leadership. In fact we have a problem not only in Muslim leadership but leadership throughout the world, religious and secular – but for our purposes – let keep the subject to Muslim leadership for now.

    You see the problem in this Katy case is that you have a conflict between an organized Islamic entity and a local businessman. This in my opinion, should be an isolated thing which the leaders should have resolved quickly. But due to a fervorish resistance and misapplied tactics by both Baker and the KIA we have a media frenzy which has become the most popular topic on this blog.

    So lets discuss Muslim leadership, as it applies to the Katy conflict… any thoughts?

  • Abdu says:

    In my experiences with Muslim leaders of Islamic societies here in the US, they usually aren’t the most religious or the most knowledgeable. I am not sure if that is the case here with the KIA or not. I feel that with all of this media coverage, the KIA could have done a better job with portraying Islam in a better light. Let me clarify that I do not live in Houston, so I am not sure with what really went on, I can only go by what the media says.

  • Hakim says:

    “In my experiences with Muslim leaders of Islamic societies here in the US, they usually aren’t the most religious or the most knowledgeable.”

    I can’t say that I agree with that, however take a look at some of the links in the original post, this will give you a different spin on things.

    As you noted there is nothing really illegal here, I think the big commotion is really exasperated because of the media, however, it offers an opportunity to discuss differences and similarities between those afraid of Islam or Islamic leaders (PatB); those angry about Western hegemony and its influence on Muslim Society (DrM), and all that stands in between… including silent observers.

    As for Muslim leadership it was Akbar Ahmed noted that,

    “In Muslim society the leader embodies both political and moral authority”

    And that overall,

    “Muslim leaders are failing, first, to provide justice and second to create conditions for the existence of compassion and balance or knowledge in their societies.”

    So in this case – the Katy Conflict – where is it that justice has been violated – if in fact it has? Perhaps it is not justice per-se that has been violated, but possibly a lack of compassion or knowledge of their society? But then again, maybe this conflict is not the Muslim’s fault at all?

  • As an FYI this Monday there will be an interfaith public meeting at a Lutheran Church in Katy. I plan to go and I’ll let you know what happens. It’s the first of several interfaith events planned this month and next. I’m actually not sure who’s organizing it, but I suspect it’s a couple of the larger Islamic and interfaith organizations here.

    (And bravo for flagging the doctor, Br. Hakim. You did the right thing.)

  • KatyResident says:

    Ruth: Thank you for responding to my post last week. I think I understand better your point of view. Distingishing between “sub groups” is difficult accross cultures. I understand it is even for those viewing the American culture. Assimilation of the new group would help. This requires effort on both parts. We need to be open ….. and towards that end I will try and attend the meeting you mention. The group coming in needs to be sensitive to the group they are joining. There is something that attracted you to the area. Exploit that and compromise on some of the little things. This has not worked in Europe but we all left there for a reason. We denounce our extremists and will help you identify them ….. help us do the same. You could be our greatest weapon in that areana.

  • Amad says:

    Wow PatB, I thought America had advertised that Mullahs no longer run Afghanistan?? But it seems that they left the worst of them to run the affairs in Kandahar. YOU REALLY THINK WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE INCIDENT YOU QUOTED IS AUTHENTIC ISLAMIC LAW?? I mean, give me a BIG break. What happened here was not only inhumane, but it was most certainly Islamically abhorrent. The murder, a child being given away, etc. I would urge you to look away from what the Mullahs are preaching there, because I would suspect that many are ignorant. Instead I urge you to review the Islamic sources. I have said this on another forum, I’ll say it again: “You have to keep the biases in check to truly open your heart and mind to Islamic teachings, even if just for the sake of educating yourself. One way of doing so is to separate Islam from its practitioners, to go to the basic fundamentals that describe the relationship between God and mankind. That constitutes Aqeedah (belief). You will find that Islam is the only religion in the world that has a complete separation between Creator and creation. This article explains further: http://www.islam101.com/dawah/true_religion.htm

    Finally, I have commented on the article in Guardian’s Observer here on my blog. That whole Channel 4 “investigation” is completely unfortunate and would count as incitement in my book.

  • Amad says:

    Hakim, I didn’t make the blog link for my comments on the Observer article clear… if you can add the actual link, that would be a little clearer:

    http://amadsden.blogspot.com/2007/01/media-inquisition-of-muslims-continues.html

  • PatB says:

    Amad,
    We got rid of the Taliban (almost) but it is still an Islamic country that has an Islamic Court and Counsel (The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan). Believe me Amad these are not the worst. I’ve seen what the Talib do in outlying villages. Also, 25 years of war redefines social norms.
    I also understand that this is a country with a checkered past and 25 years of turmoil that created an environment of great instability.
    I know that in many areas there is no law and the Mullah fills the role of keeping peace and and order in society. I could also give some examples of true justice by the local Islamic Courts.
    But this relates to the point Hakim is forwarding and that’s Islamic leadership. There is great disparity in the six Provinces in the south east here depending on the Mullah.
    There is no continuity, it depends upon the local Mullahs interpretation of religious law. An individual can petition the tribal chiefs at a Loya Jerga but they usually defer to the Mullah.
    I agree that many Mullahs here are not educated as we would expect. They do however study the Qur’an and Haddiths etc. and they represent Islam and the law. What to do? I know this is an extreme environment and I used it for an example as it related to some of the comments in the article.
    As to the article, it may be inflamatory but if the local Imams/teachers were imparting some of that message from the Mosques it is indicative of crossing from the religious domain into areas off limits in secular societies.
    These comments in a US Mosque could bring into question ones tax deferred status as a sole religious entity let alone the legal aspects of sedition. I would agree though that one article is not something to make any real decisions on and I included it as an example of the genre in the press that the residents of Katy might be influenced by.
    I understand about separating practitioners from the written word but isn’t that a problem in any religion?
    Is there any central wordly authority in Islam (Sunni-Shia)? How does the Ummah control or addmonish rogues or those that have lost the path? Is there a system of sorts?
    If a Catholic Priest strays from doctrine he can and will be ‘defrocked’ etc. and removed. There are Baptist federations etc that do the same. There is a system. There are of course fringe Christian orgs. that are known as ‘fringe wingnuts’ to all but they usually are small and local groups so we all have our problems. They are not endorsed and have no affiliation. How does Islam handle that?

  • Wellwisher says:

    PatB,

    I have found your posts very informative, but unfortunately not revealing, for wherever Mullahs and religious leaders in general are allowed the power to make life-changing decisions, they always mess people’s lives up and create havoc with the peace. This is true of an religon. Hindus, Christians and even Buddhists are doing the same. As the old saying goes, religion and politics don’t mix.

    Therefore what you said about the murder, etc., was new to me but did not surprise me. As I have understood from what you said, there are things happening in Afghanistan that can shake a man up.

    There is no central authority that can even claim to control Imams or Mullahs who are out of order. It is only possible on an organisational level; meaning that if an Imam is employed by a certain Islamic organisation as such, the administrators of the organisation can reprimand him, discipline him or sack him.

    Otherwise, you will not find a single body in either Sunni or Shi’ite Islam that could rule on all the different sects or groups belonging to these two denominations. All are split up and that is one of the greatest dilemmas Muslims of today are stuck in. So, common people are often at the mercy of the Mullahs, and that can more often than not be a hellish situation to be in, especially when they are as illiterate and backward as in Afghanistan.

    As far as the Qur’an goes, however, Muslims are advised to unite against those Muslims who are belligerent towards other Muslims, and to punish them until they relent and mend their ways. This is not in the religious sense – there is NO prescribed punishment for heresy, ilhaad, or apostasy, irtidad, in the Qur’an. It is for when one group is attacking and killing another for no reason. This is in Surah Al-Hujuraat if you’d like to check it up.

    So, if the Muslim governments could get get their act together and unite, they could crack down on all the injustices committed in so-called Islamic countries.

    But alas! They are more interested in jewels than in justice, and in petro-dollars than in peace. So I shouldn’t expect more than half-hearted condemnations of the awfully inhumane actions going on all over the Islamic world. Every one of those acts is condemned by the Qur’an, which calls upon Muslims to actively suppress evil of all kinds, out of justice and kindness. But when you come to Muslim leaders, it is a completely different kettle of fish.

  • PatB says:

    Wellwisher,
    Thanks for your thoughts and I do agree with you on many points.
    It would seem to me though that in the US the power of the congregation, if so inclined, would be the controlling factor.
    I would also suspect that native born American Muslims would be more inclined to challenge/question than those Muslims that have recently immigrated.
    I have no problem, nor any right, to question different political opinions i.e. support for Israel/Palestinians in the public arena and that is not my concern.
    My concern is the politicalization to the point of asking members to actively support elements abroad or here (there in the States) that are opposed to our National interests as defined by our elected leaders.
    Disagreeing with National policy is one thing but active opposition (other than organizing to vote/protesting etc.)
    and support of outlawed organizations is another.
    I also agree that the locals here wether Mullahs or layman are more concerned with the jewels than they are with religious issues or justice for their people. The talib won’t defeat the present Government, they will lie, steal and cheat themselves to death unless they have an enlightenment.

  • Wellwisher says:

    A wise analysis, PatB. You’ve hit the nail on the head.

    In fact, after 9/11, and again when Bush and Blair were trying to ‘legitimize’ invading Iraq by hook or crook, a surprising number of ordinary people on live tv debates and discussion programmes were seen to question the motives behind the undying and unquestioning support shown by the West to Israel.

    For the first time, the masses were beginning to realise that this foreign policy was ultimately a threat to their own safety, and was no longer just something happening far away in the Middle-East.

    The question of double standards employed against Muslim nations in particular and the Third World in general, and of the blatant hypocrisy and sheer greed underlying the policies of western governments was raised again and again.

    I believe you are right that it will be the common folk who will, in the end, bring their fears and disapproval to bear upon their governements. A breaking point will be reached where it will no longer be possible for the West to go on supporting Israel in the incredibly biased way that can be witnessed now.

    That day will no doubt be a sombre one for the State of Israel.

    It reminds me of the brilliant speech made by in the United Nations by Zadrullah Khan, then representative of the newly-born Pakistan, in 1947. This was considered the greatest speech ever made on behalf of the Arab nations against the creation of the State of Israel.

    Ch Zafrulla Khan delivered his bombshell on October 7, 1947, when he spoke on the issue of the partition of Palestine. It was a stunning speech, the Arabs were overjoyed over it. In the next day’s issue of the top Indian daily, the Statesman, wrote editorially:

    “For the first time the voice of Pakistan was heard in the United Nations. It was a telling speech which tore into shreds the pleas put forward by advocates of the partition. Ch Zafrulla Khan did not merely indulge in rhetoric, when he described the plan “a physical and geographical monstrosity”, but he proceeded to prove this by his unassailable arguments.

    Answering a question that great many displaced jews be allowed to go Palestine. He posed the counter question, would USA agree to take in five million displaced persons of Panjab if they wish to enter USA and settle there.”

    The Statesman concluded:
    “We have little doubt that the Arabs will rejoice to find, the voice of Pakistan, so powerfully raised in the United Nations.”

    The same paper in its issue of October 11, 1947 quoted an Arab spokesman saying:
    “It was the most brilliant and exhaustive survey of the Arab case regarding Palestine that I ever heard.”

    It has been reproduced in full in “The Review of Religions”, a monthly of the Ahmadiyya, a much-reviled group regarded as heretics by many Muslims. But of course, one must not forget that Zafrullah Khan was himself a follower of the Ahmadiyya. I think that for once in their lives, hardline fanatics could try to leave aside what the man’s convictions were and rather concentrate on the extraordinary effort he made for the protection of the Arabs. It’s an absolutely brilliant speech and well worth the read. The link is:

    http://www.alislam.org/ror/dec2002.pdf

    His speech left the audience so stunned that had the USA not asked for some delay – in order to be able to dissuade other nations from voting against the creation of Israel – no doubt things would have gone along a very different track.

    Western standards and alliances will have to be drastically redefined as far as their foreign policies go. But in the end, with pressure from the masses, it will be the survival of Israel that will hang in the balance.

  • GL says:

    I find these discussions very comical, especially DrM’s very hypocritical comments. It is frightening to see how some people can preach about tolerance, when in fact it is clear that they cannot tolerate anyone other than a dhimmis or muslim.

    Do not worry, there are many people who still have a rational mind who will stand up to such backwards logic and detrimental actions put forth in the world today.

  • Zobiyanna says:

    It is such a shame that the media has put such a spin on this (as they do everything).

    I’m not a Muslim nor a Christian.

    The bottom line is this: This country was founded on the value of freedom. That freedom should extend to every race, nationality, religion, etc. The Muslims have a right to build a mosque and a school on their property, and the pig farmer has a right to have his pig farm on his property. They’re both going to have to learn how to play nice in the sandbox. Maybe one day they’ll rise above their fear and learn to tolerate (and maybe accept) each other.

    Maybe someday we will live in world where we can actually embrace each other’s differences….. I hope that I live to see that day.

    Brightest blessings,

    Z.

  • Wellwisher says:

    Zobiyanna, peace to you.

    Yes, it is time people embraced each other’s differences without getting unduly emotional. Education in a secular, unprejudiced environment is key, as is getting to know each other’s faiths and beliefs.

    Islam goes further than teaching mere respect for others. It teaches that one cannot be a believer if one causes inconvenience to one’s neighbours. So, even if one has to make sacrifices in order to avoid any inconvenience, Muslims would be required by God to do so.

    In a spirit of justice, the Christian neighbours should respond in kind. Both communities should take note of the sensitivities of their neighbours, and take part in each other’s open-day programmes whenever possible. This will create an atmosphere of peace.

    I know of a case where a mosque was approached by Hindus for help with the building of a new temple. The mosque officials not only made a substantial donation towards the temple, but also offered their water point for quenching the thirst of hindu pilgrims during their yearly religious procession that passes in front of the mosque.

    The hindus responded by offering very expensive carpets for the worshippers to use in the mosque.

    Both houses of worship would send their representatives to make speeches at each other’s religious functions and gatherings.

    When things are like this, it is difficult for anything to go wrong.

  • DrM says:

    Thats funny “gl.” Who asked you to be a “dhimmi” anyway? Don’t play victim… At least have the guts to say you don’t want Muslims in the neighborhood instead of beating around the bush with your sophormoric pig race antics. Hypocrites indeed.

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