Local media is reporting that a group opposed to a proposed mosque in Temecula, California plans to appeal the city’s approval of the project. According to the report:
An opponent of a proposed mosque in Temecula said Thursday his group plans to appeal a city panel’s approval of the project that has caused heated debate over Islam and its place in the nation. Following a five-hour public hearing with more than 80 speakers, the five-member Temecula Planning Commission voted unanimously late Wednesday to grant a permit and development plan for the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley to build a two-story mosque on a 4.3-acre site in the city’s northeastern corner.The hearing featured emotional testimony, cheers and jeers from mosque supporters and opponents. About half a dozen police officers were on hand at the hearing attended by hundreds, many of whom couldn’t get a seat in the 140-capacity City Council chambers….Opponents’ reasons for objecting to the mosque varied. While many critics said the mosque would create traffic and noise problems, others voiced fears that the worship center could be a haven for terrorists and part of a larger plan by Muslims to impose a totalitarian legal system in the United States based on the Islamic holy book. Supporters said critics’ arguments were rooted in bigotry and ignorance. The center’s leaders insisted their only agenda was a roomier worship space to replace the warehouse they currently use….In a news release, the center thanked the commission as well as its supporters, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Progressive Jewish Alliance of Los Angeles. Both groups sent speakers to the hearing.
One of the churches opposing the mosque has cited both the size of the project, concerns about Islam itself, and anti-Israeli rallies. sponsored by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley (ICTV) as reasons for its opposition to the project. In one of those rallies held in January 2009, the ICTV partnered with the Al-Awda – The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, an organization opposed to Israel’s right to exist and which supports resistance against Israel “by any means necessary.”
As has been the case with other mosques planned for rural communities, the mosque sponsor appears to have ties to the US and Global Muslim Brotherhood. A faculty bio, no longer available online, describes ICTV imam Harmoush as follows:
Mahmoud Harmoush joined the World Languages and Literatures (WLL) Department in the Winter of 2007 to teach Arabic Language and Islamic Culture. He was born and raised in Syria and completed his college education in the USA. He earned a B.S. in Economics from the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona and a Master’s of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and Second Language Acquisition from Mountain State University in West Virginia. Mr. Harmoush holds many educational and leadership positions at several institutions in Southern California. He currently leads the community in Temecula / Murrieta where he also teaches Arabic Language and Islamic Studies and organizes community events. Mr. Harmoush has traveled and conducted business in several parts of the world. He is highly informed on the Middle East and the Global affairs.
A Gulf newspaper reports that Mr. Harmoush emigrated from Syria in the mid-1980s and according to their website, he is a member of the leadership council of the Syrian American Congress which is headed by Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) leader Louay Safi and also includes ISNA President Safa Zarzour. As documented by a Hudson Institute report, ISNA is an important part of the USMB.
Other possible ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood include:
- Mr. Harmoush may have also had a leadership role in important Islamic student organizations tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. For example, a report on Muslims in the Caribbean identifies a Mahmoud Harmoush as the 1993 Caribbean representative for the International Federation of Islamic Student Organizations (IIFSO), an organization in which many leaders in the Global Muslim Brotherhood belong at one time including Ahmed Totonji of International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) who played a prominent role in the Carribbean branch of IIFSO at one time.
- A 2001 list of speakers (see note below) for the Muslim Student Association (MSA) identifies a Br. Mahmood Harmoush as a former MSA President. The Hudson report also identifies MSA as important part of the US Muslim Brotherhood.
- As late as June 2008, the website of the Muslim World League (MWL) Canada listed a Mahmoud Harmoush living in LA as one of its approved speakers. The MWL is a Saudi religious organization strongly tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
(Note: List of Names of Speakers on the MSA Speakers List http://www.msa-natl.org/resources/speakers.pdf Last Updated: Sat Sep 1 04:13:11 2001 (no longer available)