Tea Party Protests Another Mosque

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


Several weeks ago, police arrested Izhar Khan, the 24-year-old imam of a Margate, Florida, mosque, for transferring money to the Pakistani Taliban. Now the tea party of Fort Lauderdale (a 25-minute drive away) is joining with like-minded groups in an attempt to shut down the entire mosque. The FBI’s investigation targeted several Khan family members, including Izhar’s dad. It did not, however, mention any other mosque attendees or leaders.

The chairman of one of the groups told a local news station: “The imam is the face of the mosque. When you have the president of the mosque saying this guy [Izhar Khan] is a star, even though he was helping to raise tens of thousands for the Taliban, I would say shut it down absolutely.” A Boca Raton pastor suggests the mosque is committing treason. “We will not stand aside and let the ‘enemy within’ act as a kind of ‘fifth column’ for the Taliban on American soil. Nor will we allow our communities to be used as satellites for terrorist cells, and offer refuge behind the walls of sacred mosques as a kind of ‘religious shield’,” he said. Last year, the tea party led the charge against the mosque near Ground Zero. Mark Williams, a former Tea Party Express chairman, infamously said the Ground Zero mosque would serve as a place for the “worship of the terrorists’ monkey-god.”

Other fringe figures are making the Margate-mosque debate an issue of their own. Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, the woman who started the movement to halt the building of the Ground Zero mosque, recently visited Fort Lauderdale. There, she delivered a speech with a passionate mix of Koranic misinterpretation and conspiracy theories.

The FBI and city officials in Margate immediately denounced calls for a shutdown of the mosque, but it seems mosques are an easy target these days, especially in Florida. Vandalism and protests against mosques have occurred in other parts of Florida, as well as in Tennessee, California, Massachusetts. Indeed, groups in West Boynton, Florida, are now protesting a proposed mosque in that community.

As Gary Stein, editorial writer at southern Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, wrote, “You have to wonder, would there also be protesters wanting to close down an entire church if a priest was involved in a scandal? I doubt it.”

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate