Hundreds turned out to voice their opinion on a mosque planned for south Newton County, Ga
Wilson Men’s 2015 Ultra Complete Package Golf Set, StandardMore than 600 people packed inside a Georgia court house for a three-hour town hall to debate the merits of a proposal for a new mosque, a marathon meeting filled with bigoted insults and reassertions of well-disproven myths.
The Monday night public forum in front of the Newton County Commissioners grew loud and rowdy as speakers voiced their concerns about terrorism and their fear of the Muslim-American community.
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The majority of speakers came out against the mosque, citing concerns over terrorism and assimilation of Muslims into the community. Some also said they were concerned about the impact of a large development.
“We have already seen bombings and beheadings,” one resident said during her time in front of the crowd, “Eight years ago, our U.S. government got a Muslim president who has put Muslims in power.”
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Newton County residents turned out in hundreds, the lines went around the building. The meeting was convened to allow residents voice their opinions on a proposed mosque, cemetery project
“To say we wish to disallow this project based on religious discrimination … is ludicrous and hypocritical,” said one woman. “They are discriminating against us by calling us infidels who do not believe in their religion.”
“We have the right to protect ourselves and our country,” she concluded. Her comments were met with whoops and cheers from the 300 people in the audience.
Al Maad Al Islami, a mosque in Doraville, bought land in nearby Covington last June, and got a county permit to make the lot a place of worship. But as the mosque prepared to apply for a building permit to start work on the holy house and next-door cemetery, county commissioners put a five-week hold on issuing any permits to religious groups. The officials claimed they did not know the group planned to build an Islamic place of worship, despite the approved 2015 permit.
The board held the Monday night town hall to let residents voice their concerns.
“It’s hard for people like me — and probably most of you tonight — to draw the line between innocent Muslims and radical Muslims, since they’ve all claimed to serve the same God and they all claim to follow the same book,” one woman barked in front of a cheering crowd.
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Some protesters passed out satirical obituaries for the nation that claimed a “good Muslim” cannot also be a “good American.”
Another woman in the crowd said she had legitimate concerns over the size of the project.
“It really bothers me that I’m labeled a bigot because I just question it,” she said. “Because I don’t care if they come and worship, but I do care if it’s a 135 acres of a very large development.”
While the majority of the speakers opposed the mosque — many because it’s a Muslim house of worship and a few because the large congregation might create more traffic in the area — a handful of people spoke up to condemn the group’s bigoted rhetoric.
One Jewish speaker said the demagogic comments seemed a little too familiar.
“If this discussion was happening 100 years ago, there’s a good chance it would be happening to my people,” she said. “And a hundred years or so ago, millions of people my people, including my great aunt, were sent to their deaths.”
The commissioners have not yet set any date to vote on the mosque.