Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Mosque in Minnesota

This letter was published in Dawn, June 15, 2005

A lot is being said and written in the post 9/11 world about the poor treatment of the Muslims living in America but very little is reported about what the Muslims do to 'endear' themselves to the communities among which they have chosen to live. An old colleague and a friend of mine, who is happily settled in the state of Minnesota for many years, has this to say about his first-hand experience. He is actively involved in local community affairs and frequents a mosque located in close proximity to a big church in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St.Paul. The church officials, he says, were kind enough to allow the mosque-goers free use of the church's ample parking lot with the only condition that a specific row in the parking lot must always be left for use of the church officials.

But the "brothers" would arrive late for the prayers and, in the characteristic rush to join the congregation, park their cars wherever they could, including the reserved spots,even double park,and make a dash for the mosque. The church officials pointed out the problem to the mosque officials, notices were sent out, and even announcements were made during the Friday sermon, but to no avail. This went on for about six months and finally the church officials, when they had enough, called the police who ticketed the violators, and the tow truck did the rest. The "brothers" were outraged and let out their anger on the mosque officials.

But then they started parking their cars in the neighborhood streets, blocking people's driveways. The neighbors lodged numerous complaints with the imam, the police issued warnings and yet the "brothers" persisted. The neighbors got fed up and the more angrier among them one day vandalized the mosque. Come Friday, the imam delivered a fiery speech on increasing incidence of hate crimes in America!

This is a typical example of how some of the imams here exploit the freedom of speech guaranteed under the American Constitution by giving vent to their unfounded anger. Incidentally, the damage caused to the mosque was fixed by another church group free of charge.



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