Islamophobia may have reached a point in this country where people condemn Christians that they suspect are Muslims without ever checking the facts.
In Phoenix, Arizona, a new Christian church has residents fearing that it is an Islamic mosque.
The Light of the World multidenominational church is being built just off of Interstate 10 and features a dome-like structure.
“Since the distinctive dome shape went up, church leaders said they have received phone calls from concerned neighbors who’ve mistaken the building for an Islamic mosque,” KPHO reported.
“I heard many people, they came over and they say, ‘Is this a Muslim temple?’ No, it’s not,” church member Juan Calixto told KPNX.
“It is unfortunate that people are so intolerant to differences that they aren’t willing to see that the place of worship is not a mosque,” said Tayyibah Amatullah of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Arizona chapter.
Church officials have hung a sign to let people know they aren’t Muslim. “If you think we are different you are wrong,” the sign reads. “We are building a Christian house of prayer.”
“We’re trying to let people know that we’re Christian and our churches are modern,” Uzieo Martinez, a church official told KPHO.
Officials are trying to avoid the type of backlash received by the Park51 Islamic center that is planned near Ground Zero.
The cultural center was largely ignored when The New York Times first reported about it in December 2009.
The project received wider notice in May 2010 when a community board considered the construction plans. Conservative bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer dubbed the proposed center the “Ground Zero Mosque” which started a national controversy.
“But with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace?” asked Tanya Somanader at the liberal blog Think Progress.
This video is from KPNX-TV, broadcast Nov. 15, 2010.