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A Matter of Faith: Islam is Fastest-Growing Religion in the U.S.
Abdullah Yusuf, center, prays at the Masjid As-Salam in Sacramento
on Friday. Yusuf says he was raised Catholic but converted to Islam
because he liked the teachings of the Qur'an.
In April, California State University, Sacramento, hosted a forum on the "Islamic Presence in Latin America" before and after Columbus. One of the speakers, Salvadoran-born AbdulHadi Bazurto (President of Latin American Muslim Unity), said the more he examined his roots, the more he questioned the validity of Catholicism in his life. "Since the day the Spanish arrived, we as people have suffered a lot," he said. "Christianity's 'white God' concept was harmful to our people, who were definitely not white."
Another speaker, Daniel Denton, a Stockton elementary school teacher who was born in Mexico, said he was a hard-drinking veteran of the Gulf War when he began to explore Islam in 1994. At the invitation of Muslims at Delta College, he went to a mosque. "There was a carpet on the floor, and the walls were bare. I wondered, 'Where is everything?' and then I realized that was everything. If you go to a Catholic church, every few feet they have an image or a statue, but in Islam, there is no association between God and any image."
Denton also was impressed by the Islamic belief that each individual will be judged by their deeds on Judgment Day. That night, he took the shahada, the Muslim vow that says "There is only one God, Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger."
When he started fasting for Ramadan, "I heard my relatives in Stockton were calling my mom in San Diego and telling her I had become a terrorist and was doing drugs," Denton said. "When I went down to San Diego toward the end of Ramadan, I had lost 15 pounds and was starting to grow my beard. My mom was just in tears for days."
But, Denton said, his mother soon realized that instead of partying, he was staying home and talking to her as he had never done before.
"As she began to see the change, she came to accept it, and now she's happy. There's a saying in Islam that goes, 'Heaven lies at the feet of the mother. You have to treat her well at all times, take care of her.' "
Denton, 29, sees similarities between Islamic and Latino culture. "I've noticed that if you take away the crosses, the alcohol and the pork, the smells in my house are similar to Muslim homes..."
Link to article HERE.
California State University, Sacramento, hosted a forum on the "Islamic Presence in Latin America" before and after Columbus. One of the speakers, Salvadoran-born AbdulHadi Bazurto (President of Latin American Muslim Unity), said the more he examined his roots, the more he questioned the validity of Catholicism in his life. "Since the day the Spanish arrived, we as people have suffered a lot," he said. "Christianity's 'white God' concept was harmful to our people, who were definitely not white."
Our tax dollars at work.
Islamic Schools & Education Resources in North America
Saturday, July 13, 2002, 12:36 a.m. Pacific
Oregon sheriff: 'We had our suspicions'
By Hal Bernton, Mike Carter and David Heath
Seattle Times staff reporters
BLY, Ore. This hard-knocks hamlet seems an unlikely place to search for clues to the al-Qaida terrorist network.
It sits on an arid plateau in Southern Oregon, about 50 miles east of Klamath Falls. With a population of about 250, it has a couple of cafes and small stores, an antique shop, and the razed foundation of an abandoned lumber mill.
But in late 1999, federal authorities and other sources say, the area had something far more unusual: militant Muslims scouting a ranch outside of town as a possible training camp for jihad fighters.
That aborted effort has now thrust Bly into the thick of a Seattle-based FBI and federal grand-jury investigation into al-Qaida's activities in the United States. Authorities suspect that a group of Seattle-based Muslims, mostly U.S. citizens, were operating as a "cell" in support of al-Qaida, and that opening a terrorist-training camp was part of their plans.
For about six months beginning in September 1999, Semi Osman a cleric at a small Seattle mosque named Dar-us-Salaam lived on the ranch, a few miles outside town. Osman is now in federal custody in Seattle, charged with immigration and weapons violations and under investigation for terror-related activities.
Sources say Osman's visitors on the Bly ranch included two members of a London mosque led by Sheik Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical cleric believed to be an al-Qaida recruiter, and militant members of Osman's Central Area mosque. Some of the visitors rode horses and fired automatic weapons, according to people in the area.
Police began to watch the ranch closely, said Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger.
"There were reports of gunfire and of a large group of suspicious, or unusual, people there," Evinger said.
Gunfire is common in rural Southern Oregon, where many residents carry arms and engage in target practice or hunting.
But this information concerned the sheriff enough that he turned it over to the FBI. He heard nothing again until after the Sept. 11 attacks, when the information gained new importance. His detectives were briefed about the federal investigation late last year, Evinger said.
"I think even before then, we had our suspicions about what this might be," he said. "You expect terrorist activity in the big cities. I think people need to realize this sort of stuff can happen anywhere."
Neighbors say Osman, now 32, kept a low profile, tooling around in a beat-up 1984 Toyota sedan and at one point commuting to Klamath Falls to work as a mechanic, according to neighbors and a former employer.
Still, he and his family got plenty of notice. In this community of bluejeans and boots, the balding, bearded Osman dressed in a tunic and skullcap. His wife, an American who converted to Islam, dressed in a long robe and headscarf in traditional Islamic fashion. A young daughter attended the local school.
Some Bly residents who knew Osman say that he was friendly and polite, and often spoke of his hopes to join the U.S. Army after he left the ranch. Osman, a naturalized British citizen with permanent U.S. residency status, was a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve.
But at least one neighbor, retired carpet layer Perry Thompson, clashed with Osman.
Thompson said Osman was a high-strung man who didn't like unexpected visitors. On two occasions, Thompson said, an armed Osman confronted him. In one of the incidents, Thompson said, Osman forced him to stop his truck by driving up from behind and parking in front of him, then he jumped out of his car, ran to his window and pointed a semiautomatic handgun at his head.
"He had all kinds of guns," Thompson said. "And he was belligerent." A Bly tow-truck driver, Billie Livingston, also reports an unsettling visit to the ranch. Coming to jump-start a dead battery, she was surprised to find a half-dozen men, some of whom appeared foreign-born, intently watching her.
Among the men at the ranch in December 1999 were two men who federal investigators believe were sent by al-Qaida leaders to check out the ranch as a potential training camp.
The men's presence in Southern Oregon was documented in a speeding ticket issued that December in Klamath Falls. According to a source, the police officer became suspicious of the occupants of the car and checked their identification.
Later, federal agents would determine the men had arrived from Great Britain two weeks earlier.
"Those men," the source said, "were there for a bad purpose."
The two men were followers of Abu Hamza, leader of the North London Central Mosque in Finsbury Park, the heart of militant Islam in Europe.
Abu Hamza applauded the Sept. 11 attacks. His mosque had been attended by Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man charged in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, and by Richard Reid, the man accused of trying to blow up an American Airlines jetliner with explosives in his shoes.
Osman's attorney, Robert Leen, denies his client has any involvement with terrorism. Others who know Osman say that he was uncomfortable with the militancy of his visitors and that he sought to distance himself from them.
The Bly ranch had been owned by Esther Fisher Schneider, who died in August 1999 at age 82. She had moved from Washington state to Bly in the 1990s with a sheep rancher named Ivan Rule, known among Bly residents for espousing extreme right-wing political views.
The property is now listed as owned by the late Schneider and the Barraka Communal Corp., a nonprofit corporation created by Rule and an American Muslim woman who lived with him in 1999.
In February 2000, Osman and his family left the ranch. The daughter and son-in-law of neighbor Perry Thompson, Lona and Paul Azevedo, moved in. In walks on the property, the Azevedos have collected ammunition from semiautomatic and other weapons.
Rule, who no longer lives in Bly, was not available for comment. The IRS has a tax lien against him in Fremont County, Colo., in the amount of $10,041, dating from May 1994.
Lona Azevedo says she continues to pay rent to Rule through a Bly post office box, but she is not sure where he lives.
Meanwhile, yesterday in London, Abu Hamza denied any knowledge of a plot to set up a terrorist camp in Bly, or of a cell of al-Qaida supporters in Seattle.
"We have quite a good following in America, but we don't keep a structure because we are talking about principles," he told NBC.
"I have friends everywhere," he said. "When you are arresting people in America under suspicion, you might as well arrest the rest of the planet."
Link to article HERE.
According to Newsweek, FBI field offices nationwide are to develop demographic profiles of their regions, including the number of local mosques. The profiles will then be used to set specific numerical goals for investigations and wiretaps in each area. If field offices do not meet their goals, they may be subjected to special reviews by teams from FBI headquarters.There's nothing wrong with including the number of mosques in a profile of the region. There's plenty wrong with setting quotas for investigations and wiretaps....for the same reason that police departments shouldn't be setting ticket quotas.
That, all by itself, should be enough to set off coordinated no-knock raids on every single mosque anywhere.
Nowhere in the original Pipes article (posted here on his website) does he advocate surveillance of all Muslims in the U.S. He does advocate increased scrutiny of certain groups as indicated in the quoted paragraph, but that's a long way from "all Muslims in this country".
'NO' to CAIR. . .and a flying leap for all of them as well.
They've already found six terrorists here in Oregon, associated with one of their "Islamic Centers."
Given that Islam is the religion of choice for criminals aand terrorists, on what basis can they argue some sort of Constitutional protection of Mosques or Muslims?
This is not to say that I endorse any infringement of Constitutional liberties - much the opposite, but they can't reasonable expect some rights to be held sacred while they earnestly shred others.
And it's about bloody time that the FBI realized that Islam is the Enemy.
Since all moslem men between the ages of 12 and 55 or so have to be counted as terrorists (read the koran) then we had better be tracking them.
For the record I am not blind to my rights and to how LEO tend to abuse my rights. I respect LEO but treat them with respect and openess. It does help to live where I live. A couple of days ago I drove into a city park in Delta at 10:30 pm. There were 3 cars parked there. Before I saw what they were they all flipped on their lights at the same time. Turns out the cops were meeting there for break and just wanted to play a joke on me when I drove in. We all laughed and I drove off. Nice cops.
That is one of the dumbest things CAIR has ever done.