Anti-mosque campaigners insist that opposition to Islamic centre 'is not about religion' ... and invite rabid Islamophobe to lecture on the threat from Muslims
After months of arguing over county building codes in an effort to keep the proposed Cordoba Center Islamic mosque and cemetery out of San Martin, the Morgan Hill/Gilroy Patriots are turning the debate to the threat of Islamic presence in the South County with a public event this Saturday.
Guest lecturer Peter Friedman, expert in Islam studies and administrator of the website Islamthreat.com, will be speaking on topics such as "Islam – Threat to America," and "Islam and Women," at the Gilroy Library from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. "If the Muslims are going to be our neighbors, we need to know more about them," said Susan Mister, Gilroy resident and member of the Morgan Hill/Gilroy Patriots.
Mister said that the main issue the organization continues to hold against the Cordoba Center is the threat it presents to groundwater, noise and traffic in San Martin. "It's not about religion. They can build elsewhere, it's just that San Martin cannot accommodate them," she said. "This event is more about providing the community a chance to learn about a religion that might be coming to our backyards."
Friedman's lecture was planned partly in response to the public forums that the South County Islamic Center has hosted in the past, where they have invited the community to learn about the Islamic faith. "Friedman is someone who can speak from a different angle, a chance for the community to learn the truth about the Koran," Mister said.
On Aug. 6, the Santa Clara County planning commission approved the Cordoba Center's site-use permit for the proposed building on the 14000 block of Monterey Road near California Avenue. An additional study of a reserve septic leachfield proposed for the site will also be administered before construction begins.
Friedman, a Walnut Creek resident, has read the Koran hundreds of times since he began researching Islam in 1970s. "I'm going to deal with the lies and deception that have been surrounding this project from the get-go," Friedman said. "It's high time that everybody learn what this actually is and where it comes from."
Friedman said that Islam is a violent religion, and hopes that through his lecture that South County residents will learn the "truth" about the faith. "For some reason we believe that Muslims in America are different than Muslims in the Middle East and Africa who are killing people," he said. "But it all comes from the same book."
By "the book," Friedman meant the Koran. He plans to give away copies at Saturday's event.
I confess that I wasn't aware of the existence of Friedman's website, which would appear to be a relatively recent entrant into the crowded field of anti-Muslim hate-mongering. What Islamthreat.com lacks in novelty, however, it makes up for in extremism and hysteria. One recent addition to the site is a document entitled "Legal Guidelines for the Criminalization of Islam in the United States".