The Islamic Post Blog

Did the Christian Action Network Hire Waitresses to Trick Local Muslims? by Khalida
July 25, 2008, 5:50 pm
Filed under: July Volume II - 2008, National | Tags: , ,

By Mark Beardsley, Special to the Islamic Post

It would be an unusual coalition. Two members of a local Muslim community say a “Christian” group out to discredit them recruited two Hooters restaurant waitresses last month to aid in that effort.
The Christian Action Network (CAN) was in Commerce, GA, hoping to film in the Franklin County 80-resident Muslim community in support of their contention that Muslims of the Americas (MOA), the parent organization, should be classified as a terrorist organization.
According to Ahmad Qadri and Mohammed Isa Abdurrauf, members of MOA, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office refused the request of Jason Campbell and Mark Fisher to go onto the MOA Franklin County site.  The two showed up at Qadri’s Rainmaker Studio on Cherry Street.
CAN is making what it calls a documentary that alleges that Muslims of the Americas communities across the country support terrorism.  The group that came to Commerce handed out pamphlets and tried to incite locals to watch a video about Soldiers of Allah to prove its point. They also entered the pottery studio.
“A guy and two girls came in under the guise that one of the girls was interested in having a pottery class, taking a class from me in pottery, and they wanted to buy some pottery,” said Qadri, whose work has won numerous awards in art shows.
Qadri, who was on the phone working out details of teaching a pottery class at the Commerce Public Library, said he asked the three if they were with CAN, to which the man replied in the negative.  The three wandered around the studio, spent $15 on a goblet, left and came back in a few minutes.
“They asked if we were with a terrorist organization,” Qadri said, “I asked them where they were from. He said “Virginia,” and I said, “You’re one of them.”
CAN is headquartered in Virginia.
Qadri said he told the three he had nothing to say to them, then presented them with a copy of the poem, “Anyway,” by Mother Teresa.
Ten minutes later the young waitresses came back to apologize. They also agreed to let Qadri video their apology, he said.
The waitresses told Qadri and Abdurrauf that the two men had approached them at a South Carolina Hooters, “so he could ask you questions about your religion and terrorism,” one of the girls says on the video.
One of the girls identified herself only as “Allie.”  The other’s name was not clear on the video.
“They came to us last night at work and told us they would pay us $75,” said Allie.
“The only reason we did it was for the beach money,” added her companion. “Then we did it and now we realize we did it for a wrong reason. And now we feel bad.”
Abdurrauf, who owns a house CAN has claimed has an underground garage that gets a lot of traffic, said the attempt is vintage CAN.
“Their literature is basically very harassing, agitating,” he said, “Anyone who stands in front of your property and shops and says you’re a terrorist, they are provoking and inciting. They have people’s homes and businesses on their web sites and they say ‘these are terrorists.’”
Qadri, who points out that his father had a 27-year career in the Army, including two tours of duty in Vietnam, calls the group’s activity “stressful and distracting, especially for our wives and families.”
“It provokes people to fear, violence and paranoia,” he added.  “We’ve had incidents where people have responded to that information.”
According to Abdurrauf, the Commerce Muslim community has about 80 residents, living in family homes.  They have a mosque, built by the residents.  Abdurrauf lives in a southwest style house on an adjacent property.
CAN refers to all of the Muslims of the America’s communities as “compounds.”
CAN did not respond to an e-mail inquiry about its Commerce visit.

Editorial View

Hatred and prejudice know no bounds. They are not limited to any ethnic groups, income bracket or religion.  So, it is nothing new that the so-called Christian Action Network would come to Commerce to push its agenda against local Muslims.
Their tactics are juvenile.  They, in essence, try to provoke Muslims to anger so they can report on their web page that they were attacked by terrorists.  In an earlier era, they would have made good Nazis, but this isn’t pre-World War II Germany and few Commerce area residents are attracted to such obvious tactics.
The idea is to brand all Muslims extremists; yet, a look at the Christian Action Network would identify its members as the extremists, though hardly as Christians.  Commerce residents can remember another group that tried unsuccessfully to divide the community.  Instead, the 1986 activity by the Ku Klux Klan brought blacks and whites closer together, and relations remain good today.
Commerce is a rural community, but we recognize prejudice when we see it. We also know the difference between Christian activists and hate-mongers.
-Mark Beardsley, Editor of the Commerce News


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