published Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

New Islamic center for region

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    Barry Ward, site superintendent for construction of the Islamic Community of Greater Chattanooga's new Islamic center, points to what will be the entrance of the domed building Friday. Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press

No one is certain these days how an announcement that members of the Muslim faith will build a masjid — a mosque — will be accepted by the community in which it is being built. The news can stir major protests, as it has done in Murfreesboro, Tenn. In Nashville, it caused no stir at all. In nearby Dalton, Ga., there were initial protests, but the passage of time has prompted acceptance of the house of worship. In Chattanooga, thankfully, there appears be little controversy about the $2-million Islamic Center under construction at the corner of Gunbarrel and Standifer Gap roads.

That is as it should be. The group met all the requirements necessary to build a new and bigger place of worship. Officials of the nonprofit Islamic Community of Greater Chattanooga answered questions from various boards and commissions, and then secured the proper approvals and permits prior to construction. The Muslim community’s quiet willingness to do so positively demonstrates its willingness to meet community building criteria.

Muslims here also reflect community mores. “We strive to embody the ‘middle path’ to which our scriptures call us, a path of moderation, free of extremism and representative of the Islamic version of a healthy community,” said Bassam Issa, a member of the nonprofit board of directors. Though some will try to find fault with that view, the truth is that the Muslim faith embodies the same tenets basic to all religions.

President Barack Obama and his predecessors have reminded Americans over and over again that the overwhelming majority of America’s Muslims are law-abiding citizens whose support of this nation and its policies and ideals is unwavering. Issa’s explanation of his faith underscores that fact. So do his comments that “I have lived in Chattanooga for 38 years; all my children were born here, I feel like I’m a Chattanoogan, a Tennessean and I’m an American.”

As such, he and has fellow Muslims should be able to practice their faith freely and without fear. The quiet acceptance of the center in East Brainerd, which also includes a school and an activity center, suggests that they will be able to do so.

The region’s growing Islamic community wants nothing more than adherents of different faiths would seek in comparable circumstances. It has worked and saved for years to build a larger worship facility in pleasant and commodious surroundings. It is now doing so. The general lack of rancor about the project and the faith that it celebrates indicates a growing and gratifying acceptance of religious diversity in Chattanooga and in the surrounding region. It is, as well, a welcome affirmation of the nation’s long-standing constitutional commitment to religious freedom.

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wingnuts4life does not speak for all of us.

May 3, 2011 at 7:52 p.m.
mella_yella said...

One things for sure, FRUITCAKE4LIFE certainly represents NO true Christian I've ever encountered.

May 3, 2011 at 8:22 p.m.
rolando said...

This thread has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity; the topic here concerns a sharia-law-demanding religion to appear here -- a religion known worldwide for its intolerance of anything and everything NOT Islamic-approved. Intolerance to include death to everyone NOT a Muslim.

Nice to see a couple more name-calling, shoot-the-messenger, First Amendment denying liberals onboard. Nice way to address the issues on here...

Anything a bit more contributory to add? You might trip over to the earlier thread on this topic -- find it here:

May 3, 2011 at 8:58 p.m.
rolando said...

The issue is also NOT about the building of a mosque or any other religious temple [or whatever], including something for Gaia. As Americans, it is their right to worship as they will. No one contests that; so long as they leave their sharia law elsewhere.

May 3, 2011 at 9:04 p.m.
chet123 said...

HEY ROLANDO/LIBERTARIAN...ASALASMU ALEIKOM!! an old saying...that which a man despises he comes....your sons and daughters will speak arabic...LOL LOL LOL ... i can see your grandchildren saying "ASALASMU ALEIKOM" GRANNY....LOL LOL

May 5, 2011 at 4:28 p.m.
rolando said...

Perhaps, chet, perhaps not.

You are one of those who detest the United States and desperately hope for Columbia's downfall. You undoubtedly think of her -- and us -- as The Great Satan in your mind, such as it is.

So enjoy your day in the sun with our free speech will lose that right on the day sharia law [and the little bombers] arrive here.

Undoubtedly, on that day you will drool and your eyes will glaze and lose focus when thinking of the abuses will then be able to heap on women and mommy first, perhaps. Perhaps they will decapitate you for deviant sex practices or self-abuse; who knows?

May 6, 2011 at 8:31 a.m.
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