South Florida this week has seen a fresh outbreak of people who are worried about the impact of neighborhood mosques.
Margate was the site on Tuesday of a protest outside Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen. Its former imam, Izhar Khan, was arrested by FBI last month on charges of sending money to the Pakistani Taliban.
Meanwhile, other protesters in Palm Beach County were objecting to plans for the new Al-Amin Center of Florida, which would go up on 2.78 acres west of Boynton Beach.
One interesting thing is how the protests differed.
In Margate, the protesters included members of the Tea Party of Fort Lauderdale (although other Tea Partiers around Florida have backed away). Another band of protesters was Americans Against Hate, which also rallied last January against the national conference of the Islamic Society of North America in Fort Lauderdale.
In Palm Beach County, however, it's mainly a coalition of homeowner groups objecting. They say the planned dome and spire will be an eyesore, although neither is to exceed 35 feet high. They also complained that the plans weren’t publicly announced, although there were public hearings about the site in 2003.
Taken together, though, it appears to be another outbreak of fearfulness about Islam and its institutions in America.
The Pompano Beach-based Islamic Center of South Florida has faced years of protest from a couple of area pastors. The opposition to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque in New York is well-organized and entrenched. There's also been resistance to mosques in Maine, Oregon, Texas, New Jersey, Tennessee, Michigan, California -- even in such liberal states as Massachusetts.
OK, your turn. Are mosques an affront to American neighborhoods? Are the opponents just xenophobes? Or is the truth somewhere in between?
Let's hear from you.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times