RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

The Nation's Other Mosque Battles

Don’t think that a project to build a mosque will only run into trouble if it’s near Ground Zero. Across the country, efforts by many Islamic groups to build places of worship have been met by tremendous opposition—even in places as small as Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin—showing just how deep the debate over religious freedom for Muslims runs in the United States. Christian leaders, Republican candidates, and protesters have mentioned traffic and parking problems as reasons to oppose the construction, but for the most part their real problem seems to be with Islam. Some have even claimed that Muslims secretly want to do away with the Constitution in favor of Islamic Shariah law. “It’s one thing to oppose a mosque because traffic might increase,” said one professor of Islamic studies, “but it’s different when you say these mosques are going to be nurturing terrorist bombers, that Islam is invading, that civilization is being undermined by Muslims.”