American Muslims Under Attack: A Look At Fredericksburg

by | Dec 1, 2015 | News

By Susan Larson. Screen shot of cell phone video by Munira Salim Abdalla.

Local Muslims faced hatred during a community meeting on November 17, 2015, when The Islamic Center of Fredericksburg (ICOF) leaders were trying to present plans for their new mosque in Spotsylvania County.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that this [the new mosque] does not happen,” shouted one man. “You can say whatever you want, but every Muslim is a terrorist.”

“It was horrible. It was really horrible to be called a terroritst,” Munira Salim Abdalla told WUSA 9. “It is so sad that people are so ignorant. I understand the fear, all of us have fear, including the Muslims, because the people who did what they did [the attacks in Paris] are not Muslims,” she said.

In addition, fliers and social media comments warned residents the mosque was going to bring in Syrian refugees.

The local attacks against Muslims have attracted the attention of D.C. media, including Washington Post Columnist Petula Dvorak.

“If you don’t think Muslims are under attack, take a look at what went down in the town of Fredericksburg last week,” Dvorak wrote on November 23.

“The Islamic Center of Fredericksburg — a little brick building that looks like a bank branch office and has been around for 27 years — was skewered at a community meeting by a handful of seething people who see the center’s expansion plans as a threat to the very fabric of America,” Dvorak wrote.

About the fliers she said:

“Baloney. Not only are there no plans for any resettlement in Fredericksburg, the screening process for refugees to get into the United States takes 18 to 24 months. And the plan by the Obama administration to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into our vast country translates to about 200 per state. I somehow doubt all of them will take to the quaint streets of Fredericksburg.”

“The rhetoric dominating our nation right now is anything but civil,” Dvorak wrote. It’s time for all of us to put a stop to it.”

In a statement issued days after the disrupted meeting, the ICOF board said it, “will move forward with plans for our new Mosque, so we can continue to provide a spiritual home while being active in the Fredericksburg community.”

In the days since that ugly meeting, the ICOF has received support from the community. “We’ve had an outpouring of calls and emails from people being supportive and sympathetic,” said Samer Shalaby, ICOF Chairman of the Board. “This is the community I know.”

Read Petula Dvorak’s entire column: Attacks on American Muslims are growing uglier by the day. It must stop.

See also:
American Muslims Under Attack: A Look At Fredericksburg

Islamic Center of Fredericksburg Releases Statement Following Disrupted Meeting

Meeting about Virginia mosque exposes deep divide

Man calls all Muslims terrorists during Va. meeting WUSA 9 Video

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