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Anti-Muslim Bigotry

“Biblical” Group Denounces Islam, Harrasses Worshippers, Outside Tampa Bay Mosque



Interesting escalation in Islamophobia. A “biblical” group stood outside the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay to “denounce Islam”.

More than 20 people used bullhorns to shout slurs against the faith of Islam and Islam’s Prophet Muhammad at those attending the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area. They also handed out anti-Muslim literature and, according to a mosque official, frightened children attending weekend school at the facility. The group was apparently in Tampa for today’s Super Bowl. Police were called to the scene.

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CAIR is calling for the FBI to investigate for possible civil-rights violations:

“Americans of all faiths should be able to attend their houses of worship without fear of harassment or intimidation,” said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kiliç. “We call on the FBI to determine if this incident crossed the line from freedom of speech to religious harassment.”

Tampa Bay online reports it mildly (of course because it was Muslims who were being harassed, so need for sensationalism even if truthful but God forbid it was the other way around, we all know how the story would be making rounds throughout the national press):

Members of the group engaged in a “spirited debate” with Muslims inside the mosque, but the encounter was peaceful, according to officers with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The demonstration, which began around 12:30 p.m., ended about 30 minutes later.

There was no “spirited debate” as such, as eye-witnesses comment on the news report:

I was actually at the Mosque with my 4 year old on Sat. and got to hear the group first hand. I actually walked over to hear what they had to say. Clearly, these folks were not interested in anything but instigating a ‘situation’ and then try and point to their followers ‘look how violent thse people are’. Several of the mosque attendees even attempted to just have a discussion about faiths etc. But the ‘protesters’ were not interested in discussions. [asiddiqi]

I drove by and saw this. What a crazy bunch those protesters. The Moslems were patient enough with them, more than I would have been. They had a loudspeaker and were condeming them to hell.. A crazy bunch indeed. [stevemear68]

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").



  1. MM Associates

    February 1, 2009 at 4:44 PM

    bismillah. [abu abdAllah]

    yet another indication that masajid need (1) to be good neighbors, as much as any individual Muslim needs to be on good terms with his own neighbors, so too masajid. that way perhaps the hatemongers would have gotten an earful from outraged Christian neighbors of the masjid, and i include the local police and fire department etc in the ranks of neighbors — because you want them to see the hatemongers as “other” not you. (2) every masjid should have a plan of action for such events, just like it should have a fire drill or other emergency plans. the average person in the masjid should not be the person who responds on behalf of the masjid, rather there should be designated persons and you just go down the list based on availability — lead person, first back-up, etc., until one of them can be found to arrive at the masjid and take charge.

    may Allah reward the Muslims in Tampa who showed sabr, and may He make their example such that it brings more people to Islam.


  2. Mezba

    February 1, 2009 at 8:35 PM

    I agree with the above comment about the need to be good neighbours.

  3. MR

    February 1, 2009 at 8:56 PM

    Send them some nice baklava and kheer as a response to their “demonstration”.

  4. J

    February 1, 2009 at 9:54 PM

    As-salam Alaykum,

    I’m going to agree with brother Haytham here. I’m going to say big deal. We look like pansies making a big deal of this.

    Fi Aman Allah

    • Amad

      February 1, 2009 at 11:17 PM

      The finer point in all this is that how motivated certain individuals are that they would take the time and energy to locate a Masjid to throw slurs at the mosque folks. We weren’t there, so we should not simply dismiss how these community members felt or what sort of verbiage and abuse these protesters hurled. At least I wouldn’t have wanted my kids to see this sort of ugliness…. what impressions will they take with them?

      Our mosques are places of worship and tranquility (or at least intended to be), we cannot let people get in the way… how would you like these 20 people to show up at your Jumuah khutbah and shout the khateeb down? Or show up at Sunday school and hurl abuses at your children?

      If we dismiss these incidents as Muslims, then those who don’t share our faith, would care even less… today it will be 20, tomorrow it will be 2000. Never underestimate the snowballing potential of hate and intolerance.

  5. QasYM

    February 2, 2009 at 1:21 AM

    I agree with Amad. How can you compare this to the Gaza protests?!? They show up randomly at a local Masjid and start yelling crap. We don’t go to synagogues or churches. If we did can you even imagine WHAT WOULD HAPPEN!

    This is in no way comparable to an organized protest (by people of ALL faiths) urging the American and Israeli govts. to take action against the murderers of women and children.

    This shouldn’t have lasted 30 minutes, the cops should’ve been called right away, and they should’ve been kicked off the premises.

  6. sincethestorm

    February 2, 2009 at 1:49 AM


    It is a big deal. WE can’t let stuff like this slide. Mel Gibson in a Drunken state said some offensive remark that Jews are responsible for all wars. There was a back lash against him and he apologized the very next day because of this comment. Richards, who plays Cosmo Kramer on the Seinfeld show, said some offensive comments about blacks during a comedy routine. He, as well, apologized on every show imaginable. So, I cite these as examples because 50 yrs ago these comments were made and no one blinked. Now, it is considered terribly inappropriate and a public relations’ nightmare. So we need to continue to express our outrage so it sinks in. Colin Powell started it for us, when he asked the question so what if Obama is Muslim. This protest and any offensive comment should not be acceptable BY US. We certainly CAN NOT accept one person protesting on private MASJID property.

  7. LearningArabic

    February 2, 2009 at 2:46 PM


    I definitely do not think that this is the same thing as Muslims protesting Isreali aggression in Gaza. If Muslims were standing in front of Jewish or Christian places of worship and hurling insults then it might be. But the fact is, protesters stood in front of GOVERNMENT buildings and not PLACES OF WORSHIP to protest Israeli and American policy not Judaeo-Christian religious beliefs. In fact, many conscious Christians and Jews also protested.

    I know that some people did get emotional and make offensive comments towards Jews and the Jewish faith. That behavior should not be tolerated and viewed as acceptable just like the behavior of these hate mongerers in Tampa.

  8. Abu Nurah

    February 2, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    Spewing hatred against our Deen in front of our Masajid?!!? Are you kidding me?!!? Any Muslim who is not outraged by this, listen to me—PLEASE CHECK YOUR IMAN, SERIOUSLY!!! When are we going to stand up? When they come into our homes and wake of our sleeping families to harass them? They are testing the waters, people, pushing the envelope to see how far they can go, how far we will tolerate. This was a very tempered response by the Brs. in Tampa. Next time, let’s show some backbone and drive these lunatics off! Let our children see us being strong in the face of those we attack us.

  9. Ibn Syed

    February 3, 2009 at 12:08 AM

  10. Umm Umaarah

    February 3, 2009 at 12:30 AM

    PS. We did (and still do) the very same thing when it came to Gaza (in front of the Israeli consulate) and other places… so why is it halal for us and haram for them???

    I think somebody is being SUPER ULTRA sensitive…

    Just a thought

    Seriously, you’re going to compare a protest for Gaza to bigots screaming slurs in front of a masjid…with KIDS coming out of class? And it is certainly hoped and required of people protesting to behave themselves and not shout slurs like these people…

  11. sincethestorm

    February 3, 2009 at 12:52 AM

    I am sure the brother who thought it was no big deal is going to watch the you tube video and realize how unacceptable it is. The protests in front of the embassy are certainly not the same thing..we are all in agreement. Masha-Allah, the brothers kept their cool and the brother with the dreads was wise for moving the other people away from the discussions. I think we all need to continue to financially support cair, write a letter, and most importantly make dua to protect the muslim communities/places of worship from harm.

  12. muslimah

    February 3, 2009 at 1:47 PM

    mashaAllah i’m glad our brothers were calm and didnt stoop down to their level..alhamdulillah. remember this is not the FIRST time. our Prophets, sahabas, and sahabiyats had to go thru worse things..and they couldnt even call cops..

  13. Ameera

    February 3, 2009 at 2:06 PM

    1. On a long term basis, makes mosques more accessible for people of any faith to come in and satisfy their curiosity.
    2. Arrange for guided tours of mosques (where the guide actually talks about Islam rather than telling the visitors the price-tag of constructing such-and-such in the mosque)
    3. Carry “We love Jesus (as)” placards and start “protesting” in front of the offensive group. :)

  14. Skeptical

    February 3, 2009 at 6:15 PM

    I just watched the incident on youtube and am totally disgusted by it. I won’t want myself and definitley not my children to be subjected to such accusations and humiliation.

    What is the big deal? some people have said. HELLO???? Nobody had the right to be subjected to such abuse, right? This is America! Or is the freedom and the protection that comes from being an “American” only for the Non-Muslims? God fobid had this happened to ANY other sect of Any other religion, the story would have been broadcasted all over the evening news around the nation. Worst, had the Muslims been in place of the Christains…I don’t even want to imagine the catastrophe! Thus, It IS a big deal! If we don’t stand up and tell them constantly that we also deserve the same rights of worship they have been enjoying for centuries, we simply will not be given it. And I want my children to grow up to people who are proud to Muslims!

    We are Muslims. (Alhumduillah!) And although, we remain calm or try to in most situations, but we simply CAN NOT deny ourselves our right to have our voice heard against the injustices that are inflicted upon us or our brothers and sisters. I’m extremely proud of the way everyone handled the situation in the masjid in Tampa Bay. May Allah (SWT) reward all of you for your Sabr.

  15. QasYM

    February 4, 2009 at 12:01 AM

    They obviously weren’t trying to have a dialogue. The Muslims should’ve just taken a boombox and blasted it real loud next to them, and left. LOL…they would never have come back.


    February 4, 2009 at 1:07 AM


    I thought i would abstain from writing for a couple of weeks but i had to add to these comments.
    First, Haythem, your comparison of the Palestinian protests to this incident of shouting slurs at a Mosque is EXTREMELY ASKEWED

    I agree with Amad, Umm Umaarah, QasYM, and others RIGHT MINDED people that this was something to be taken seriously.

    We have children that come to these Mosques, and they should have a feel of security and a sense that these kind of insults and slurs should not be tolerated.

  17. Algebra

    February 4, 2009 at 1:21 PM

    “If we keep doing this… our dialogue with the mainstream Americans will die… you have to realize that.. coz all what we are doing is adding more fuel to the fire.. ”

    Your understanding is a matter of perspective……………..
    i will leave it at that.

  18. Mostafa A.

    February 18, 2009 at 11:54 PM


    It’s one thing to yell in the streets, side of the street, or in front of a consulate, it’s another thing to yell in front of a religious establishment DURING worship! But I agree with you when it comes to demonstrations; small numbers are not really effective and makes us look reactive, rather than proactive.

  19. shahgul

    February 19, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    When we gather for Gaza, we are protesting a harmful action, with the intent of registering public opinion, and therefore changing how things are done in a democracy.
    It is another matter getting into someone’s face, invading their space, disturbing the peace of their place of worship, calling their prophet names, and telling them they will go to hell. All unprovoked.

    The later is surely an act of verbal aggression and a physical threat of aggression. I know you are speaking from the Muslim perspective of giving benefit of doubt and ignoring small things, but these people are declaring as much war as they can within a civilized society. In war, you do not ignore aggression. Next time they will be outside your house.

    Please follow more discussion from other perspectives on the same topic:

  20. Sabrina

    February 20, 2009 at 1:42 AM

    Okay this is utterly stupid (the Harassing not the discussion in the comment section)

    And I have to agree with the people saying that this is a big deal.

    It may make us Muslims look bad for the select few hatemongering on the Jews but you better believe that if these people were outside a Synagogue, the Anti-Defamation League would be making headline news on just about every news channel you can think of. But does that make them super-sensitive? -in a way yeah- No! They are fighting for their rights, which happen to be silencing every media outlet possible to not say one word bad about Jews or Jewish culture, which is alright with me so long as we Muslims can silence propaganda against us also.

    I think one commenter said it right when they mentioned this ‘only testing our limits’ or something to that extent. Well let Cair calling the FBI to investigate be the limit! The Ummah needs to stand strong and have a ‘backbone’!

    May Allah swt guide us and united us

  21. ali el basha

    May 7, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    may ALLAH protect our brothers and sisters in the west ..and wanna tell all our people in the west some thing . this is normal and expected thing from infidels since you have the truth and you are on the right way so they will fight you and annoy you all the time and this is a test and we should do our best in all different ways to take stance against those people .
    and i remember a situation happened between man who come asking abu abbas the uncle of our prophet muhammed peace be upon them . the man told him that ” jews re telling him that satan do not whisper to them in prayers ” .. so abu abbas replied him >> and what satan”shytan in Arabic” need from ruined hearts ” .. if we think about this situation will find that all muslims generation will find such problems whatever it ‘s type but they will find problem like that since they are in the right way to ALLAH . so may allah bless and protect all our brothers and sisters all over the world . and remember always that our prophet muhammed peace be upon him said that “there is no house in desert or land but islam will enter …” may ALLAH give you mercy and strong you Eman Ameen .
    and am sorry if you find it difficult to read my comment since my mother language is Arabic but really i should support our brothers and sisters even with those words .. salam alykom

  22. ali el basha

    May 7, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    correction sorry
    Prophet Mohummed says “ No house, be it in desert or city, but Islam will enter ….“

    aha by the way i know very good site for Quran miracles brothers and sisters here i know this not the topic but may i do not see this page again so let me type it <<<< the site available in 9 different languages
    thank you all
    salam alykom

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