Okay, Tennessee, we get it. You have some really racist residents (and this coming from an Arizonan).
Tennessee continues its ongoing battle with a mosque being built in a neighborhood. A quick run-down for those who haven’t followed the story: Muslim-Americans dared to practice their freedom of religion by building a mosque in a Tennessee neighborhood. The constructions efforts were very literally torched, and signs were spray painted with ‘Not Welcome’. Somehow this is acceptable behaviour.
I have a mosque in my neighborhood. When we first moved in, it was Christian church (with, no joke, a neon, blinking sign that read JESUS. It looked like a Coors Light bar sign). Eventually, the church property was sold to someone else who turned the church into a mosque.
My neighborhood consists mostly of Mormons, lesbians, Hispanics, and Joe-Shmoe Arizonans (my Republican parents included). In case you were in a coma for SB-1070, Arizona’s occasional racism shows through particular residents who come out and say, “Yeah, fuck them border hoppers!”
Well, the mosque went up just fine. No protests, arson, or any general misshaps. The mosque has been there and active for many years now, and there’s been zero incidents or complaints.
The moral of the story is: A MOSQUE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. My neighborhood didn’t erupt in flames, Muslims did not storm the streets demanding we convert, God did not descend and condemn us all for daring to tolerate other religious presence. Every encounter I’ve had with the mosque has been pleasant and, even though they don’t have an awesome neon blinking sign outside, I am no longer bombarded with pamphlets telling me to go to church.
Tennessee, settle the fuck down. It’s a mosque for practicing Muslim-Americans who are exercising the same rights you do.