Archive for the tag 'jacob penek'

From the Daily News:

Opponents battling a proposed Sheepshead Bay mosque have transformed into a fund-raising machine, getting online donations and holding events in glitzy restaurants.

Newly formed neighborhood group Bay People has led the ramped-up fight against the Voorhies Ave. mosque, claiming to have raked in $30,000 from hundreds of local donors.

“When we started this in January, I thought no one would help, but the whole community has come together,” said spokesman Alex Tenenbaum before a wine and hors d’oeuvres fund-raiser last week at Paradise Garden on Emmons Ave.

Their effort has included a mailing to local residents and building a Web site to accept contributions.

The donations will fund a legal strategy to block the mosque by arguing it violates zoning laws and will create noise and traffic problems on the quiet block.

Opponents unleashed a controversy in January when they voiced anti-Islamic rants at a civic meeting and distributed flyers and letters linking Muslims with terrorists.

Tenenbaum and other Bay People officials have tried to tamp down the racial and religious rhetoric; notices for an anti-mosque demonstration on Sunday urge attendees to “be polite and tolerant.”

“We’re not welcoming bigots and Islamophobes,” said Tenenbaum, whose E. 28th St. backyard borders the mosque’s property.

But their ranks include members prone to outbursts that could inflame tensions.

“They [Muslims] want to destroy everything,” said Paradise Garden owner Gregory, who declined to give his full name. “They’re enemies of the United States – all of them. They hate America.”

The organization seeking to halt the development of the proposed Voorhies Avenue mosque held a rally Sunday afternoon to publicize the predicted quality-of-life issues. But prejudiced and fearful statements from attendees revealed a rift in the group that could be undermining its credibility.

Bay People, Inc., organized the rally to convey a clear message: parking, traffic and noise complaints are at the heart of their opposition to the mosque. Speakers came to the sun-drenched podium, many with prepared statements designed to reinforce their defense that they’re not bigots.

“This demonstration is not anti-Muslim,” said one speaker who declined to give his name to Sheepshead Bites. “We’re here to demonstrate against this specific project … this is about our quality of life. It’s about our peace and quiet.”

Keep reading about the protest’s message, and how some say it’s being undermined by bigots.