KATY, TEXAS – While Kamel Fotouh makes plans to build a mosque on 11 acres of pasture here, neighbor Craig A. Baker is making plans of his own – plans to hold pig races.

Baker figures he’ll need a tent, souvenirs and a track for the pigs to race on, all in full view of the Muslims next door, for whom pigs are forbidden as food.

As a bonus, Baker will host the competition on Friday – a Muslim holy day.

This is not meant as a slur on Islam, Baker said. It’s a dispute between two neighbors. “A lot of people are making this into a racist situation, a redneck guy from Texas saying ‘We’re going to put on pig races,’ ” he said. “But I’m standing up for property rights.”

The trouble started in October, shortly after the Katy Islamic Assn. bought the land next to Baker’s marble business. . .

Another resident’s website, anonymously registered, features an odometer-like counter that keeps track of attacks that “Islamic terrorists have carried out” since Sept. 11; a link to the FBI; and a link to a recording of the Muslim call to prayer. “Get used to it,” reads the tagline. “You will be hearing it 5 times a day 365 days a year.” . . .

Recent polls show that residents here aren’t alone in their fears. About a quarter of respondents in a Gallup Poll in the summer said they would not want to live next door to a Muslim. A third thought that Muslims in the United States sympathized with Al Qaeda.

An independent poll released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found in March that one in three Americans associated the word “Islam” with “war,” “hatred” or “terrorist.”

CAIR spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed said it was not uncommon for people to say that a mosque would bring down their property values. “In order to stay away from being labeled racist, they try to come up with a more sophisticated response to support their opposition,” she said.


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