Back in March I wrote about some Waukesha County residents’ opposition to a proposed Brookfield, Wisconsin mosque and my concerns over misinformation and fear-mongering. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and not jump to hasty conclusions, but that’s not easy to do when they say things that make it nearly impossible. My hope was that after the meeting at which Islamic Society of Milwaukee President Ahmad Quereshi invited those with concerns or questions to tour the Islamic Society in Milwaukee, people would take him up on his offer. But my hopes have been dashed after reading today’s report by Rory Linnane of the Brookfield Patch.
According to Linnane, 200 people attended an anti-Islam rally in my neighborhood last night. The event was held at the Waukesha Expo Center, sponsored by VCY Radio, and featured Walid Sheobat.
From the Brookfield Patch article:
Shoebat, who says he is an ex-terrorist, has been confronted about his past by media outlets like CNN, who reported they could find no evidence to support his background story. But he stood by his case Saturday, saying the media were the real frauds.
Despite a lack of legitimate evidence to support Shoebot’s claims, some Waukesha County residents bought his message.
Brookfield residents Chuck and Sharon Bloom left the rally Saturday with a plastic bag full of books sold by VCY America, a Christian radio station that sponsored the event. The couple was hoping to learn more about Islam and to build a case against the proposed mosque.
“More than just me and my wife, the community needs to be informed,” Chuck Bloom said. “I think it’s important to find out exactly what questions we need to ask to make sure there’s no sharia law, etcetera.”
Say what? Sharia law? Really?
Sharia law was the buzz phrase of the evening, especially surrounding the mosque. Shoebat said while he supports freedom of religion, Islam as an institution stretches beyond religious practice with sharia law. Sharia guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
“It’s not the mosque I have a problem with,” Shoebat said, making no specific reference to the Brookfield proposal. “It’s, where is the funding coming from, and will the mosque sign and swear that they will never be sharia?”
Even though the invited Brookfield Mayor and alderman did not show up, I’m happy to read that they do not appear to have the same fear of sharia law taking over Brookfield, Wisconsin. At least there’s that.
Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto and Alderman Scott Berg have both previously stated they do not think the religion of Islam should be considered in deciding whether to grant the Islamic Society of Milwaukee the permit they need to build their proposed mosque for land northeast of the intersection of Calhoun Road and North Avenue.
But it seems more than a few area residents do not share the city leaders’ rational viewpoints.
Brookfield resident Robin Couillard said she found out about the proposed mosque for the first time at the event. She said she was especially concerned about Shoebat’s remark that a mosque is like an embassy for Islam and sharia law.
“I’m just shocked that this is being proposed for Brookfield,” she said. “I’m concerned about Islam overtaking our community, and our country, and the world.”
I especially found a local pastor’s thoughts to be disconcerting.
David Ball, a pastor from New Berlin, said he came “to find out if the message about what Islam really is is getting out properly.”
“I hold freedom of religion very dear, but Islam is not just a religion; it is also a state government system, completely contrary to our system of government,” Ball said. “Our Constitution should not be subverted to sharia law.”
There’s an upcoming public information hearing on May 2nd at 5 p.m. in the public safety building courtroom at 2100 N. Calhoun Road, Brookfield. Hopefully, the information provided at that hearing will be factual, and Waukesha County residents will take a deep breath, step back, and realize what’s going on here…