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Is Opposition to Muslims-Only Maryland Development Just “Islamophobia”?

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A controversy has broken out over a Maryland housing development that advertised and sold homes only to Ahmadiyya Muslims. Predictably, those who object to this are being accused of “Islamophobia.” And just as predictably, there is nothing to the charge, and plenty to be concerned about regarding this development.

The Washington Post reported that “dueling legal complaints and allegations of Islamophobia have marred an unfinished retirement community in Maryland after homes were sold only to Muslims.”

The 35-acre development in Joppatowne, Maryland certainly seems to have violated fair housing laws. An early ad for the development made it quite clear for whom the houses were intended: “This will be a community of 49 spacious brand new homes (Villas) for Ahmadi Muslims with a dedicated mosque within walking distance.” Another version of the ad touted an “audio feed from the adjacent mosque.”

A real estate agent, Gina Pimentel, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, saying that the developers were “unlawfully privately marketing and selling only to Ahmadi Muslims.”

To try to allay concerns about the projects, one of its principal movers, an Ahmadi Muslim physician named Faheem Younus, held a town meeting. According to the WaPo, “the meeting occasionally grew heated. One man wearing a Rolling Stones T-shirt challenged Younus about the definition of ‘jihad.’ ‘Jihad is a war on the infidel, and I am the infidel,’ he said. (The man declined to give his name to The Washington Post, calling it the ‘lying press.’)”

Yes, the Washington Post is indeed the lying press, and jihad is a war on the infidel: “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims” (Reliance of the Traveller, a Shafi’i manual of Islamic law, o9.0)

Younus went on to say – you guessed it – that “there were many misconceptions about the Joppatowne retirement community.”

Have you ever noticed that Islam itself is beset by “misconceptions”? People seldom, if ever, seem to be able to get it right. Whenever a non-Muslim notices that Islam is not a religion of peace, or catches a Muslim in a lie, we start hearing about “misconceptions.”

The Post reported: “No, he said, the word ‘jihad’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘armed struggle.’”

Not “necessarily”!

Younus added ingratiatingly: “We are not trying to be unlikable.”

A large number of the Ahmadi Muslims I’ve encountered, particularly their U.S. spokesmen Qasim Rashid, Haris Zafar, and Kashif Chaudry, seem to be trying very hard to be unlikable.

Younus continued: “We are trying to be transparent.”

Yeah, sure you are. Transparent like this: “Younus was joined by Mansoor Shams, an Ahmadi Muslim from Baltimore. He said he’s patient with questioners but bristles when people insist the Koran is a violent text. ‘It’s such a disrespect to me and my [Marine] uniform,’ Shams said. ‘If you ask a question, at least take my word for it.’”

That’s transparent? Shams just wants us to take his word for it that the Qur’an is not violent? Are we allowed to read it for ourselves and evaluate his claim for ourselves? Are we allowed to notice the “kill them wherever you find them” verses (2:191, 4:89, 9:5), the beheading verses (8:12, 47:4), and the verses calling for warfare against non-Muslims (8:39, 9:29, etc.)? Apparently not. We have to take his word for it.

The Post added: “‘I have some trepidations, I admit it,’ said David Miceli, 71, wearing a blue ‘Las Vegas’ hat to honor the victims of the mass shooting there. ‘But the man looked me in the eye and said “I’m telling you the truth.” I have to give him the benefit of the doubt.’”

Good luck with that.

The idea that opposition to this project, whose principal spokesmen have been so obviously disingenuous and deceptive, is a manifestation of “bigotry” and “Islamophobia” is ridiculous. That the Washington Post would frame it in that way is not surprising, and only illustrates yet again, as I show in my new book Confessions of an Islamophobe, that the charge of “Islamophobia” is a tool that is used to shut down legitimate concerns regarding Islam and Muslims.

Meanwhile, those who are so eager to trust these Ahmadi Muslims and their Muslims-only housing development might one day regret that they so readily gave them the “benefit of the doubt.”

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. Coming in November is his new book Confessions of an Islamophobe. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

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