In Pompano Beach's Golden Acres apartment complex, across the street from the sign that says, "Rezoning of this property is under consideration," residents say they aren't bothered by the prospect of a mosque next door.
"Everybody is entitled to their religion," said Ruby McCloud.
But a few ignorant ministers, such as the Rev. O'Neal Dozier of the Worldwide Christian Center, appear to have forgotten this American fact of life.
Not only have they tried to block the move of the Islamic Center of South Florida, Dozier has inflamed the situation by repeatedly calling Islam "a cult" and fretting that a Muslim influx could make the neighborhood "a breeding ground for terrorists."
In an interview on Wednesday, Dozier said "all Islam is radical" and he called the Quran "a dangerous, evil instrument" that's "the root of the problem." His proposed solution: banning Islam in the United States.
"There should be freedom of religion, but for one so dangerous as Islam, we ought to carve out an exception," Dozier said. "Every law has exceptions." . . .
Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, spent 90 minutes talking to Dozier on Wednesday after both appeared on Fox News Channel.
"I told him, 'I'm very surprised and shocked to see the position you're taking, because historically your people have been discriminated against in the way you're doing to us,'" Ali said. "He's adamant about blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few. ... He's espousing bigotry and hate."