Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) supports our universal human rights of freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom of worship for ALL people — without exception. We reject protests against houses of worship.
On July 30, 2010, in Temecula, California a group protested outside the current facilities being used by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, while the Islamic Center is planning to build a mosque in Temecula, where it purchased land in 2005. As previously reported, the facility is a business warehouse where area Muslims go to worship. According to KABC news, “The existing Islamic center has been operating in Temecula out of an industrial building for almost 10 years.”
Those opposed to the planned mosque went outside the existing Islamic Center facilities during the Friday worship services to protest “no more mosques in America.”
The protesters with loudspeakers and signs, denounced the right of the Islamic Center or any Muslims to their freedom of religion to hold worship services in mosques, with signs such as “No More Mosques in America,” “Mosques are Monuments to Terrorism,” “No Rights for Mosques,” and “Stop Taqiyya – Lies to Non Muslims to protect and spread Islam.”
The Southwest Riverside News Network (SWRN) reported that there were about 35 anti-mosque protesters. SWRN reported that “Using a bullhorn, the protesters shouted anti-Islamic slogans as Muslim families came to worship Friday afternoon. ‘Go back home’ and ‘We don’t want you here,’ the protesters said.”
According to the Valley News, “many of the mosque foes equated Muslims to ‘terrorists’,” and that “Ernie White, who described himself as a possible candidate for Temecula City Council in November, was among the most outspoken critics of the mosque plan.” Ernie White is an activist with a California Tea Party group in the Riverside, California area.
The Temecula anti-mosque protest was publicized online by the national Tea Party Patriots web site, by a group called the Southwest Riverside County (SWRC) Tea Party Citizens in Action group. The event was publicized by a Tea Party activist, Diana Serafin. R.E.A.L. was told by news media sources in California that while Diana Serafin had posted the promotion of the event, she was not actively organizing it. But the Press-Enterprise news media interviewed Tea Party activist Diana Serafin at the Temecula anti-mosque protest on July 30, 2010.
The Southwest Riverside County (SWRC) Tea Party Citizens in Action group had planned to “pack the house” to reject the Temecula mosque at a government hearing scheduled for August 18, but Temecula officials have postponed the hearing to November.
On Diana Serafin’s posting at the national Tea Party Patriots web site, she described the anti-mosque protest as “Silent Majority Silent No More! We will not be Submissive! An Islamic Mosque is planned to be built in Temecula. We are holding a Singing – Praying – Patriotic rally on Friday on the side of the road on Rio Nedo in Temecula. Bring your Bibles, flags, signs, dogs and singing voice on Friday to let everyone know we are a Christian community and will not tolerate Sharia law and radical behavior.”
On July 29, 2010, R.E.A.L. reported in an interview with California Tea Party activist Shellie Milne that she believed that some California Tea Party activists rejected the mosque protest. R.E.A.L. has publicized an online petition for Tea Party activists to sign to publicly support freedom of religion and disassociate themselves with protests against houses of worship. To date, it has just one signature by one Tea Party activist – Shellie Milne.
The Valley News reported that “The anti-mosque rally was largely publicized via a July 18 electronic newsletter that was distributed to newspapers and local conservative political activists. The rally notice was listed among opinion pieces and upcoming activities planned by Republican and Tea Party activists.”
Another one of the protesters, Zorina Bennett of Temecula, was one of the mosque protesters, who told the Los Angeles Times that Muslims “are known terrorists.” Zorina Bennett brought her dog Meadow to the protest in the belief that many Muslims view the saliva of dogs as impure, when going to pray. According to the Valley News, Zorina Bennett “carried a sign fashioned in the shape of a cross. ‘This is America. This is a Christian country, not a Muslim country.'”
Other anti-mosque protesters speaking to the press included: Mano Bakh of Wildomar with a sign “No More Mosques in America, according to SWRN’s report;” Cynthia Daum (Cynthia Don?) with a sign “No Allah’s Law Here” who told KPCC “I do no want them here just like I do not want the illegal Hispanic people here, I don’t want ’em.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, “One of the most heated moments came around 12:20 p.m. when Fred Carlson, a heavy equipment operator from Temecula, drove his pickup truck past the Islamic Center twice, calling Muslims ‘pedophiles’ and hurling a few curse words.”
KPCC Southern Public Radio Network news reported that local Calvary Baptist Church pastor Bill Rench had sent out an open letter to parishioners stating that “We certainly find ample cause to oppose the spread of Islam.”
According to the Valley News, “The protesters were outnumbered by mosque supporters – some from as far away as Los Angeles and San Diego – who carried signs and gave speeches of their own. Many of them sat under a shade awning in front of the Islamic Center and wore lapel tags with the word ‘Friend’ printed upon them.”
Responsible for Equality and Liberty (R.E.A.L.) supports our universal human rights to freedom of religion, freedom of worship, and freedom of conscience for all people of all faiths, including the freedom of religion supported under Article 1 of the United States Constitution. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
We urge those who promote hate and intolerance to unburden the hate from their hearts.
We urge all to Choose Love, Not Hate. Love Wins.
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