As a project to build a minaret for a South Side Muslim congregation nears completion, opposition to the effort has cropped up on the Internet.
Two blogs, one of which appeared to be local, last week included incendiary comments from readers about the 107-foot-high prayer tower under construction next to the Islamic Community Center at 4666 Lansdowne Ave.
A national Muslim civil liberties organization called the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) responded by calling one blog an anti-Muslim Internet hate site and asking for an investigation by the St. Louis office of the FBI.
"Better get a gun and some training, Patriots. The side of Freedom cannot afford to lose the next civil war, and it is coming right soon," said one post on the local blog.
The blogs initially reported the tower would include loudspeakers for calls to prayer several times a day. The site soon added an update saying the center’s Imam had said there would be no loudspeakers at this time.
In a July 11, 2007 article in the Journal, Imam Muhamed Hasic said recorded calls for prayers would not be needed because there’s no Muslim community in the immediate area.
"We will not have the loudspeakers," Hasic said last week.
However, many of the posts kept asking why the loudspeakers were being allowed.
"If the ‘devout’ Muslims are really devout then they wouldn’t require megawatt loudspeakers telling them to pray," said one post.
"Every mosque is the seed of a new colony of invaders.... Every imam preaching the true tenets of Islam is an agent for the destruction of the United States," another post said.
"Time to change the name. St. Louis is so crusader. How’s Ayatollah Louis sound?" a third post said.
Kamal Yassin, president of the St. Louis Chapter of CAIR, said his organization asked for an FBI investigation because the web sites are inciting violence and hate.
"There are laws against hate speech and inciting violence," Yassin said. "They should be applied to this situation."
Bosnians, who make up the congregation’s population, left Bosnia because of things like this, Yassin said. (MORE)