5 Bogus Reasons Used to Ban Mosques

As Islamophobia grows across the world, it can sometimes be difficult for people to find ways to discriminate against Muslims in places that promote religious freedom. Rather than accepting a diversity of faiths in their community, however, some of the less-than-tolerant leaders instead choose to find “creative” (and usually flawed) reasons to circumvent the Constitution and ban mosques. Here are five disheartening examples of communities attempting to keep Muslims out:

1. Turn Down That Music!

As the proposed Islamic Center of Clermont proceeds through the grueling process of receiving local approval, Ray Goodgame, a city council member for Clermont, Florida has a novel approach to blocking the application: pre-emptive noise complaints.

“[Muslim’s] wailing may become a nuisance to many,” wrote Goodgame. “There are other people who live within hearing distance of the property. I don’t want them to destroy the community with their music.”

Considering that “wailing music” is not a common complaint against the many other mosques across the country, this “reason” seems like a veiled way of saying “we don’t want your kind in our town.”

2. It’s Not Discrimination If They Want You Dead

When a proposal for a mosque outside of Nashville caused a controversy, presidential candidate Herman Cain gave a confusing explanation as to why he supported banning the construction: the First Amendment’s religious protections don’t supersede a community’s ability to make decisions for itself.

“They are using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their mosque in that community and the people in the community do not like it, they disagree with it,” said Cain. “I’m simply saying I owe it to the American people to be cautious because terrorists are trying to kill us.”

I suppose once you’ve exaggerated the threat on your life, may logic and the Constitution be damned.

3. Mosques Are Way Different Than Churches

Kevin Grantham, a Republican Colorado state Senator, believes that there is an important distinction between churches and mosques: churches are strictly for worship, while mosques try to spread to other parts of life.

“Mosques are not churches like we would think of churches,” Grantham said. “They think of mosques more as a foothold into a society, as a foothold into a community, more in the cultural and in the nationalistic sense. Our churches – we don’t feel this way, they’re places of worship, and mosques are simply not that, and we need to take that into account when approving construction of those.”

Huh? I don’t know what fantasy version of America Grantham is living in where churches are only for worship. I seem to recall church-sponsored social events, ministers endorsing political candidates and a constant push to declare the United States a Christian nation.

4. Your Religion Is Fine, It’s the Architecture We Hate

Like the United States, Switzerland’s Constitution protects the freedom of religion. However, that fact didn’t prevent a popular vote from adding a sentence that explicitly banned minarets in the country. Minarets are tall prayer towers, a type of architecture specific to Islamic buildings.

Although Swiss officials promised the Muslims in the country the vote was “not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion, or culture,” it was most definitely precisely that. By banning one of the most prominent symbols of Islamic culture for arbitrary reasons, it is a clear declaration that the majority of Swiss people don’t even want any visual reminders of the Islamic faith.

5. To Protect Freedom of Religion, We Must Prevent Freedom of Religion

When wealthy Saudi Arabians offered to fund the construction of a mosque on behalf of Muslims in Norway, Jonas Gahr Store, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, forbid the money from being allocated to his country for that purpose. While Norway does proclaim itself to have freedom of religion, officials stated that it wouldn’t be right to allow people from Saudi Arabia – a country which does not allow residents to practice Christianity – to promote a diversity of religions in Norway when it doesn’t even do so in its homeland.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. The best way for Norway to advocate for religious freedom is not to limit it within its own boundaries out of spite. Why not demonstrate how a nation can benefit from a diversity of cultures rather than exhibiting Islamophobic tendencies?

158 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks for the article.

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson2 years ago

I assume almost all religions stray into preaching to the masses at sunday mass......I was always blown away by the church of the creator types in hayden lake Idaho in the early 90s.....talk about a shining example of good old American home grown terrorists-neo-Nazis.....what a bunch of whack jobs.....!......religions getting hijacked for hate speech rhetoric is a human time honored and practiced tradition......that we let it happen is a subject for discussion!

Joe Langer
Joe Langer3 years ago

Femia C., it seems to me that with all of the hate and intolerance you are spewing about religion in general, you are no different than what you criticize. You want to be free to choose not to be a part of religion, but you don't respect others right to choose to be religious of their own free will. You have written against the religious freedom that has made it possible for you to write against religious freedom. Now that's irony. It is also hypocrisy.

Femia Cools
Femia Cools3 years ago

Roopak, Sorry, I merely meant in mosques in the usa, eur-union and countries that want to become members of that union. There are restrictions here and there. But since mosques are not only used as places to gather, there are all kinds of activities, in which women and girls participate. The title of this discussion suggests we are talking about the western world.

But Farther East ... (well, uh, our queen went into a mosque in Saudi Arabia) .. it is as if women are non-existing as human beings. So, no rights at all.
But also there, religions are more about culture than about religion-in-itself.
Religions take from cultures what they need, to "appease" people. Then they turn norms and values into (though) rules and laws to keep their followers under their influence and power.

In a far future, when millions of people have killed each other over bogus reasons, maybe someday, ratio will win. When gods will be proven bogus and acceptance of equal rights will be the norm for all (women, children, gay, disabled, men).

But then again, when I weigh the length of life of earth against human occupation, I put my two cents on the planet.

It is of great value that we can speak out freely here, and I am very aware of that and grateful for that everyday.

But I am not going to follow the bogus reasons to build bogus houses anymore. Although I spent my first four years in a japanese prison camp, haiku is more my thing ;-)

Best to you all, and thank you !!

Roopak Vaidya
Roopak Vaidya3 years ago

Dear Femia,
In many countries around the world women are not allowed to enter mosques.
My question, therefore, was to get facts and not in any way to to discriminate against women, but rather to find out whether women had any rights in your area of the planet, and to not see women discriminated against.
So keep your burquah on! :)
Regards,
Roopak

Femia Cools
Femia Cools3 years ago

Thank you Noreen. Yes, freedom is freedom and should be for all.
My take on any religion or ideology is that bogus and phobia are their thing; that freedom and equal rights are not.
It is disturbing that in 2013 religious leaders still have the law at their side, when feeding bogus to their followers, who don't think twice and believe and feast on the lies.
To me, believing in a non-existing allmighty being or following an ideology is a disgrace to the human mind.

Femia Cools
Femia Cools3 years ago

Roopak. Of course women are allowed to enter a mosque.
I am always surprised by talks on tv where people talk about the good sides of a religion with phrases like: oh, but women are allowed to.... women can do....
Phrases like that are in itself proof of discrimination against women.
Where I live, women and men have there own sides in mosque or sinagoge

Amy Fisher
Amy Fisher3 years ago

Thanks.

Rebeca C.
Rebeca c.3 years ago

P.S. I know it doesn't sound smart, banning them for their music is not either

Rebeca C.
Rebeca c.3 years ago

Don't know much about the subject. I am very biased: I think there should be a bunch of mosques cause the look totally cool. Beautiful architecture.