CAIR-LA Welcomes Temecula City Council Approval of Mosque Construction
CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush (first from right) attended the council
meeting and spoke during the public comment period urging political, religious and
community leaders to jointly start a process of healing to bring Temecula residents
together on the basis of tolerance and understanding
Anaheim , CA : The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) Jan 26 welcomed a unanimous vote by the Temecula City Council upholding a previous decision to allow construction of a mosque in that city.
The council meeting was among the longest in its history, with the vote not occurring until after 3:30 a.m. Some who spoke at the meeting displayed the anti-Muslim hostility that has characterized much of the debate about the new mosque, which is being planned by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley to accommodate the growing Muslim community.
SEE: Temecula approves mosque after contentious 8-hour hearing (LA Times)
SEE: Council Denies Anti-Mosque Appeal
CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush attended the council meeting and spoke during the public comment period, emphasizing the local Muslim community's commitment to the area and that it only makes sense to allow them to build a mosque in their home. He encouraged political, religious and community leaders to jointly start a process of healing to bring Temecula residents together on the basis of tolerance and understanding.
Ayloush distinguished between the mosque's opponents, saying that those with a genuine misunderstanding of Islam demonstrate the need for a local mosque and for stronger interfaith engagement in that area. "Then there were those who largely came from out of town and had nothing but pure bigotry for Muslims and Islam. Their bigotry was and should be exposed and challenged by all sides."
CAIR-LA also commended the many friends and supporters in the interfaith community, such as the Interfaith Council of Murrieta and Temecula Valley, who have consistently stood by the mosque and the Temecula Muslim community. Many of them stayed to the end of the council meeting in solidarity.
"We are grateful to the interfaith community, from Temecula and beyond, who strongly defended our country's pluralism and supported the Muslim community and its right to worship freely like all other Americans," Ayloush said.
Ayloush was joined by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California Executive Director Shakeel Syed, who also commented at the hearing.
"This is a great day for all of Temecula, really," Imam Mahmoud Harmoush of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley told the Los Angeles Times. "Now I think we must again devote ourselves to reaching out to the community."
Opposition to the Temecula mosque sprang up over the summer. In July, an e-mail alert encouraged the state's Tea Party supporters to bring dogs to harass Muslim worshipers during a Friday congregational prayer.
SEE:Calif. Tea Party to Use Dogs to Harass Muslim Worshipers