What would you do if a large building was slated to be built directly in the middle of your residential neighborhood? If you're like the residents in the Brooklyn, NY neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay, you would fight it. But unfortunately, it's not that simple. That's because the large building is a mosque, and the local residents say that even though they don't oppose it on religious grounds, their opposition is being branded as Islamaphobic.
"They'll have the microphone and they'll mock us, curse us," local resident Patty Fatone told CBN's Erick Stakelbeck. "They'll condemn us for what we're saying."
Fatone is part of a neighborhood group called Bay People, Inc., which has organized to oppose the mosque. According to group members, their questions about the wisdom of building such a large structure in the middle of a non-Muslim neighborhood has led to them being demonized.
For example, that's what happened last summer when the group staged a peaceful protest:
"So a church or synagogue you would also oppose because of the potential quality of life issues?" CBN News asked them.
"Yes," they all agreed.
"Not in this place," member David Meylakh told the outlet.
"If there was a library here, we'd be against it," member Bob G. added.
The group says they're opposed to the increased traffic, the added parking headaches, and the Muslim call to prayer ringing out loudly five times a day.
"We welcome the Muslim families to build a house and to be a good neighbor," resident Victor Benari said. "But we will not welcome this facility in the wrong place and backed up with the wrong organization behind it."
His last point brings up another concern of the group: the mosque's affiliation. CBN has more:
That organization would be the Muslim American Society, or MAS. The group's leaders admit the organization was created by members of the radical Muslim Brotherhood -- a jihadist movement founded in Egypt that seeks to establish Islamic Sharia law worldwide.
MAS officials now attempt to distance themselves from the Brotherhood, at least publicly. But a 2004 exposé by The Chicago Tribune revealed that,
"In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society. It was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members. Then, the group's leaders decided that Brotherhood members would call themselves the Muslim American Society, or MAS."
According to the group, the local Muslim community is located several blocks away, meaning no Muslim families will, for the moment, have to deal with the headaches the group opposes.
Stakelbeck offers the details in a video report for CBN: