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Answers to some of the questions swirling around mosque controversies


Photo by HORIZON/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The interior of a mosque in Ishafan, Iran, May 2006

The Huffington Post featured an interesting Q & A yesterday with Salam Al Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which has offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Al Marayati (also a member of KPCC's regional advisory council) addresses some of the questions and fears swirling around the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" in New York and related controversies elsewhere, including in Temecula, where some residents have protested against the development of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near a Baptist church.

Among the topics he addresses: Islamic law, national security, and terrorism. From the interview:

Q: What about Sharia (Islamic law) in the U.S.?

A: If what you mean by Sharia is what is practiced in the Muslim world -- no! Many Muslims fled the Muslim world because of corrupt regimes, injustice, misogyny, and downright discourtesy...When we see stoning of women in Afghanistan or Nigeria, or child marriages in the Arabian Peninsula, that is not Sharia. It is an exploitation of Islam to oppress people, especially women.

Q: Is terrorism ever justified?

A: No. Terrorism is evil...Yet, when terrorists tape video messages from the caves of Afghanistan or the jungles of Somalia, they get free publicity in all US markets. When we condemn terrorism, it is barely recognized.

It's a good read, insightful and timely.