I said in September I would get back to 2-3 times a week but here’s my problem: Nominations and budgets and hyper-local things have been flowing onto the page, but I want, desperately sometimes, to talk about the bigger and harder issues. Every time I do, though, it feels somewhat incomplete, choppy, and stunted. I’ve contemplated shelving these issues, but they are too important to wait for better writing.
So shortly after I posted about Ahmed Mohammed, the kid who was arrested for making a clock, I read about this. A “far-right patriot group” is hosting a protest outside Howard County’s very own Dar Al-Taqwa because, as they put it, “WE ARE INVOKING OUR 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHT ABOUT OUR FEELING OF ISLAM IN AMERICA”.
The first thing I thought about when I saw this was all of the (mostly national) Republicans who demanded moderate Muslim leaders vociferously denounce radical Muslims and Muslim terrorists. This argument is bunk for too many reasons to count, but I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with a healthy dose of quid pro quo. I want to demand that more mainstream conservatives actively and publicly denounce this radical arm of their ideology lest they be accused of being complicit. In Howard County Dar Al-Taqwa is in the districts of Greg Fox, Trent Kittleman, Warren Miller, and Gail Bates.
The argument is bunk when applied to “moderate Muslim leaders” and so it’s not fair to apply it to those elected officials mentioned above, unless they themselves have called on moderate Muslim leaders to denounce radical Muslims. Additionally, I’m not fond of over politicizing this, this should be an opportunity to stand up against hate across party lines. I also have little doubt that the abhorrent reception Dar-us-Salaam received from our community when they proposed moving into Woodmont Academy spread across the political spectrum.
It is also worth contemplating, although important to admit that it is just speculative contemplation, whether or not this is another example of the community at large reaping what we sow. Of all the mosques in America or even in the DC area, why did this group pick Dar Al-Taqwa? Is it possible that they believed, based on the opposition to Dar-Us-Salaam, that they might receive support from the community?
On how we should respond as a community, I am truthfully torn. On the one hand I feel like this group should just be completely ignored. Their viewpoints and their little rally are so far out of mainstream society that doing something in response gives them a level of validation they do not deserve. Additionally, it’s likely what they are hoping for because then they will get attention, which is clearly a primary goal for the group.
On the other hand, does ignoring them send a message to their targets that we do not care or even do not disagree with their hate? Should we instead organize a counter rally in support of Dar Al-Taqwa with political leaders, civic leaders, and religious leaders gathering as one to surround Dar Al-Taqwa with love instead of hate?
The answer must lie with the leaders of Dar Al-Taqwa. My hope is that all of the above mentioned leaders would reach out to them in the next week and show them love and support and ask them how they want us to proceed. Simply put, this is their call and any well-intentioned move done without their leadership nearly defeats the point.
 Two things worth noting about this article. The first is that the lawyers for the group fighting Dar-Us-Salaam were Joan Becker and Paul Skalny and the quoted member of the group is David Yungmann. All of them are noted Howard County Republican activists. The second thing is that everyone in this article (and others) stay pretty much on message that the issue is traffic and such and to be sure this was a legitimate concern. However, if you attended any of the meetings or hearings the Islamaphobia was, at best, thinly veiled.