(Binghamton, NY) The Muslims of America, Inc. (TMOA), held a press conference at the Holiday Inn Binghamton on April 6 to discuss their ground-breaking civil lawsuit filed against Robert Doggart of Signal Mountain, Tennessee, William Tint of South Carolina, and nine yet un-named cohorts for their role in a plot to burn down the mosque, destroy the school and inflict physical harm not excluding murder of residents of the TMOA community of Islamberg. The complaint, believed to be the first of its kind, was filed March 21 by TMOA legal counsel, Attorneys Tahirah Amatul-Wadud and Tahirah H. Clark under 18 U.S. Code § 248, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (“FACE Act”), which prohibits anyone who by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person lawfully exercising or seeking to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship.
TMOA Public Relations Director, Muhammad Matthew Gardner provided context for the lawsuit,“The constitution of the United States of America guarantees the right of freedom of religion. This right is not exclusive to one faith or one group of people. No one should interfere with a person’s right to practice their religion as they see fit. They should not be threatened nor should their lives and property be threatened.” The violence in America’s places of worship over the last several years includes churches, mosques, sikh temples and Jewish community centers and underscores TMOA’s desire to awaken all people of faith to the attack on religious freedom.
Attorney Amatul-Wadud reiterated the far-reaching implications of the lawsuit, “This case is filed on behalf of Islamberg, but also on behalf of all Americans who believe in the first amendment right of freedom of religion. We cannot expect the government to do it all. We have the responsibility as citizens to use all tools available to protect ourselves and our sisters and brothers in this country.”
Sources in the legal community agree that using the FACE Act is a bold and pointed step towards protecting America’s faith communities and places of worship. American Muslim citizens see it as simply upholding what Islam has historically mandated in that during the Muslim reign, churches, synagogues, monasteries, and all places of worship were ordered neither desecrated nor destroyed, nor their worshippers threatened.
In response to a question regarding known Islamophobes who have been the most vocal in spreading false information about Muslims and, in particular, The Muslims of the America, Mr. Gardner cited the Fox News channel; Ryan Mauro, National Security Analyst for the Clarion Project; and Wayne Simmons, who was arrested on felony charges for posing as a former CIA operative. During their roles as Fox News guest analysts, both Simmons and Mauro persisted in promoting the false allegations that TMOA communities are terror training camps. Attorney Clark drew the connection between the oft-repeated rhetoric about TMOA and the increase in violent threats and harassment the community has endured from domestic right wing extremists over the years who watch and listen to the false allegations as truth. The connection is confirmed in a little known 2015 FBI bulletin titled “Militia Extremists Expand Target Sets To Include Muslims”, which states “the FBI assesses militia extremists, increasingly over the past two years, have conducted surveillance, plotted, and advocated violence against mosques and Islamic centers across the United States and specific Muslim communities.” Islamberg was so targeted by Doggart who sought out trained militia such as co-defendant William Tint to carry out his plot.
The Muslims of America reiterated that it is firm in holding political and government leaders accountable for the well known double standard that exists in the justice system as it pertains to prosecuting what TMOA has coined the “American Taliban”, or extremist right wing anti-government and anti-Islam individuals and hate groups who are threatening the safety of all Americans. TMOA encourages Muslim Americans to register to vote and select political candidates who promise to uphold freedoms for all Americans and protect citizens from harassment and violence.
In an interview with The Islamic Post, Honorable Khalifa Hussein Adams, Chief Executive of TMOA, expounded on their message, “The attacks on Islamberg are not just an attack on Islam or Muslims, but goes against American values and principles which provide peace, equality, and justice for all regardless of ethnicity, race, religion or social class. We want the world to know that we will not sit idle and allow our American values destroyed by either the American Taliban who wish to bring about a clash of civilizations by making Islam out to be the enemy, or ISIS which is not only unIslamic but anti-Islam as the majority of its victims are Muslim. Islam has been here in America from day one and will remain. Diversity will never be destroyed in this country.”
Through the arduous task of seeking redress from the courts, Attorney Amatul-Wadud highlighted the silver lining in that the The Muslims of America has developed relationships and allies in the quest for justice for Islamberg as members of the other faith communities attended the press conference in support. She concluded that the TMOA community consists of modest, hard-working families and is offering itself as an inspiration and an example.
Source: Islamic Post Staff