This at CBS News last night:
Federal officials are investigating a fire that started overnight at the site of a new Islamic center in a Nashville suburb.
Ben Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to CBS Affiliate WTVF that the fire, which burned construction equipment at the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is being ruled as arson. . . .
And a meme that seems to be growing in circulation among the Tea Partiers, that Islam is not a really a religion at all, was recited to an AP reporter covering the Tennessee mosque site arson:
“They are not a religion. They are a political, militaristic group,” Bob Shelton, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in the area, told The Associated Press.
Shelton was among several hundred demonstrators who recently wore “Vote for Jesus” T-shirts and carried signs that said “No Sharia law for USA!,” referring to the Islamic code of law.
Others took their opposition further, spray painting a sign announcing the “Future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro” and tearing it up.
The assertion by some conservatives that Islam is not really a religion, and a mosque is not really a house of worship (the building of which is protected by the First Amendment), was also implied by a protester quoted in a New York Daily News article on the arson:
“This mosque that they’re trying to build, all it is is a training center,” an area resident protesting the building told local television station WTVF in July. “In Islam, a mosque means we have conquered this country. And where are they? The center of Tennessee. They’re going to say: We have conquered Tennessee.”
And the CBS News report also offered the following as background to the Tennessee mosque controversy:
Earlier this summer opponents criticized the planned mosque at hearings held by the Rutherford County Commission, as supporters held prayer vigils.
At one such prayer vigil, WTVF reported opponents speaking out against construction.
“No mosque in Murfreesboro. I don’t want it. I don’t want them here,” Evy Summers said to WTVF. “Go start their own country overseas somewhere. This is a Christian country. It was based on Christianity.”
The anti-Jeffersonian Herderite sentiment being expressed here is not subtle, is it?
So what kind of country do you want? I want a Jeffersonian nation, the fundamental unit of which is the individual citizen with certain inalienable rights, not a nation of Herderian ethnic and religious tribes opaque and terrifying to one another.
How about you?
And which kind of America are you working for?
Here’s an AP report on a Tennessee mosque arson from two years ago. Is a pattern emerging?