First it was the Jade Helm conspiracy nonsense where Texans thought President Obama was planning to invade the state, seize their guns, and put so-called “patriots” in FEMA concentration camps. Now, residents of the small town of Farmersville, Texas have their own invasion conspiracy going on, and it involves Muslims.
(Wait, isn’t the fear of Muslims, gay people or gun grabs the centerpiece of every far right conspiracy hypothesis when you get to the bottom of it?)
Aside from the fear that President Obama is going to take their guns, force them to read a history book, or a book of any kind for that matter, the far right has been in freakout mode ever since he was elected. Urged on by right-wing political figures who have made a living stoking paranoia about an imagined Muslim invasion of the United States, people in small towns like Farmersville, Texas now see anything involving Islam as a plot to take over – even when it involves a cemetery.
A proposal to bring a Muslim cemetery to Farmersville has stoked fears among residents who are vehemently trying to convince community leaders to block the project. The sentiment reflects an anti-Muslim distrust that has been brewing over the last year in parts of Texas, most notably 25 miles away in Garland — the scene of a deadly May shooting outside a cartoon contest lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.
“The concern for us is the radical element of Islam,” David J. Meeks, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, told The Dallas Morning News. He said he thinks the cemetery would be the first step toward a broader Muslim expansion in town.
“How can we stop a mosque or madrassa training center from going in there?” he asked, referring to a type of Islamic school.
The issue is flaring up as Farmersville leaders consider a 35-acre development request from the Islamic Association of Collin County, which faces a shortage of space to bury members of its faith. Although the area already has a Buddhist center and Mormon church, residents showed up in force at a recent town meeting to oppose allowing a Muslim cemetery, which would include an open-air pavilion and small retail component that would run along a busy highway through town. (Source)
Remember the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy a few years ago? The right-wing media had a field day with the story and thousands of angry people showed up to protest a proposed community center that was actually blocks away from Ground Zero, but facts be damned because a bunch of guests screamed about 9/11 and radical Islam on Fox News.
If this was some Hezbollah support center or a Neo-Nazi compound, I could understand the fury of the people who packed the Farmersville zoning meeting where it was explained that the property lies outside city limits, and the city of Farmersville cannot approve or deny the project based on zoning ordinance authority. The citizens stated that other cities in Texas had also blocked Muslim cemeteries from being allowed, something that was also found to be false by the city’s zoning board.
This isn’t radical Islam invading the Bible Belt, imposing sharia law and forcing everyone at the local church’s coffee and doughnuts social to convert to Islam. These are just people who are looking for a place to bury their dead in a religious tradition that also respects local laws. When people react so stupidly and with such paranoid hatred, it only gives ammunition to the anti-American propaganda that the radical elements of Islam preach to anyone who will listen.
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