The Other ‘Ground Zero’ Mosques

It’s not just downtown Manhattan: Across the country, planned Islamic centers are provoking protests and ugly discourse. In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, proposals for a 52,900 square-foot Islamic center for the longtime Muslim community there led to signs in the town square saying “Keep Tennessee Terror Free.” Such debates have popped up elsewhere across the country, as when a Florida church planned a Quran burning. In the state, mosques have been defaced by graffiti, and even politicians have joined in, with one gubernatorial candidate calling the religion a “cult,” and another renting a billboard to broadcast the message, “Defeat Universal Jihad Now." Televangelist Pat Robertson pondered a Muslim takeover of the U.S. on his show Thursday, and wondered if local politicians could be bribed. More puzzling, Muslims in Murfreesboro say their neighbors showed kindness and understanding in the weeks after September 11.