New York area Muslims deal with backlash from Bin Laden’s death – the Examiner – May 11, 2011

New York area Muslims deal with backlash from Bin Laden’s death

by Armir Taraj, The Examiner

May 11, 2011

Several local and international newspapers have recently reported on acts of vandalism on New York and New Jersey Muslim sites following the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.

The Gothamist reported on May 10th that a planned mosque’s fence in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, had been defaced with Bin Laden Graffiti: “Osama bin Laden’s death roused up strong feelings of patriotism and jingoistic drink recipes—and it also inspired someone to inform a proposed Brooklyn mosque of the Al Qaeda leader’s death by way of graffiti. Sheepshead Bites reports that “He is dead” and smiley faces were spray painted onto the fence outside a controversial mosque site. The mosque’s organizers called it a “hateful act.”

The Brooklyn Paper also reported on the story as part of its coverage of the larger story on the Sheepshead Bay Mosque winning approval by Judge Mark Partnow on Tuesday, May 10th: “A state judge ruled that the construction of a controversial mosque in Sheepshead Bay can move forward shortly after a lawyer for the developer hinted that opponents of the plan are terrorists — citing inflammatory graffiti cheering the death of Osama bin Laden at the mosque site.”

BBC also published an article on the same mosque’s recent approval titled “Brooklyn mosque row reflects wider tensions” in which it covered recent anti-mosque opposition throughout America: “For the defence, lawyer Lamis Deek said a “terrorising environment” had been created for the Muslim community in Sheepshead Bay. After Osama Bin Laden’s killing, graffiti reading “He’s Dead” went up at the construction site. The case was motivated by “racism and hatred”, Ms Deek said.”
Opponents of the mosque had claimed that the mosque’s construction would create traffic congestion and parking problems.

BBC further reported that “In the same neighbourhood, a third of a mile (0.5km) away, was a much larger church, without off-street parking, and a synagogue that’s under construction.” Neither of these two projects had received any opposition.
The Freehold Patch reported on Tuesday, May 10th, that the Freehold Turkish American Community Center had issued a statement condemning the vandalism that took place at their center on Monday, May 9th, in which a US flag that was displayed in front of the center had been stolen and replaced with a damaged one which had then been raised upside down: “We the Turkish American Community Center condemn the act of vandalism  on our building and insulting our US flag by someone replacing our well maintained and displayed US flag with a tattered one in front of our community center,” the press release stated. “Any act of vandalism is deplorable. But vandalism against a cultural center and places of learning, are particularly cowardly and hateful.”
Such incidents are not confined to the Tristate area. The Huffington Post reported on Tuesday, May 10th, that a local mosque in Louisiana’s Shreveport-Bossier City had been defaced: “According to police reports, a white male was seen tampering with the doors of a local mosque on Monday, and raw pork was found hanging from the door handles after his departure. Adherents of Islam do not consume pork, which they consider unclean”
The Huffington Post also reported in the same article that, earlier this week, a mosque in Amherst, NY had been targeted with a sign planted next to it that said: “Bomb making – next driveway”