An anonymous flyer distributed in parts of Sheepshead Bay last week proclaimed that the Muslim organization behind a proposed mosque and community center supports terrorist groups and encourages suicide bombings.
But the owner of the property, the national Muslim organization behind the project and Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo, called theperpetrators of the flier ignorant people who understand neither the spirt nor the letter of American law guaranteeing freedom of religion.
At issue is the proposed building of a four-story mosque and community center with classrooms at 2812 and 2814 Voorhies Avenue off East 29th Street.
The properties were bought by Allowey Ahmed, 60, a Muslim immigrant from Yemen, who has been living in Brooklyn for over 40 years.
Records show Ahmed bought the property through Illinois-based Guidance Residential LLC, a company that helps Muslim-American families buy homes and property under Islamic laws which do not allow for interest payments.
The company partners with their clients and co-owns the home until it is paid off.
Since buying the property, Ahmed is in the process of forming an affiliation with the national Muslim American Society (MAS) on the property under the name MAS of Sheepshead Bay, LLC.
The flyer distributed within a several-block radius of the property asks residents to “Say no to mosque at 2812 Voorhies Avenue.”
It states there are quality of life issues such as parking, traffic and noise. It goes on to state that the MAS has a goal of establishing an Islamic state in America, has a troubling history of associations with radical organizations and individuals that promote terrorism, anti-Semitism and rejects Israel’s right to exist.
Additionally, the flyer state’s the MAS supports terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah and encourages suicide bombings.
The flyer asks residents to come to the next CB 15 meeting a7 p.m., Jan. 26 at Kingsborough Community College and leaves an email contact.
After this paper emailed the contact, a caller responded who refused to give their name, but stated they lived on the block.
“People are opposed to the mosque and they are not necessarily bigots or racists, but they have real concerns,” said the person.
The person said people in the neighborhood are worried the mosque could be a money laundering operation and that several newspaper articles found the MAS is a radical organization.
Many people fear that a mosque will bring property values down, the person said.
Mahdi Bray, executive director of the MAS, characterized the perpetrators of the flyers as bigots.
“The world doesn’t disintegrate because Muslims come into the neighborhood. It’s not earth shattering to accommodate the First Amendment of the Constitution calling for freedom of religion and the building of mosques reflect the growing demographics of Brooklyn,” said Bray.
Bray said the MAS renounces violence and that Islam, like all other major faiths in the world, is a religion of moderation.
“The whole claim by some that there’s a fifth column trying to destroy the country from within is a rallying call for the bigots and Islamaphobes who like to frighten other Americans about Muslims,” he added.
Scavo said her office has been receiving calls from both sides of the fence, with one side calling Muslims terrorists and the other side calling them loving people.
That said, Scavo said she has little patience for some in the community who don’t understand that America is a country of immigrants.
“We’re going back to the dark ages with ignorance and hatred with anybody we don’t understand. It’s fear and ignorance, and the hatred some people are spewing is disgusting,” Scavo said.
Ahmed said the flyer appears to have a lynch mob mentality.
“I really admire the leaders of the community that are not carried away by the hateful remarks that the others are making,” said Ahmed. “I think they are courageous. It’s easy to play along with. In this day and age it’s almost kosher to hate Muslims. In America, we are all under the same umbrella of freedom.”