CAIR slams 'KKK tactics,' says Tea Party changing focus to 'promotion of Islamophobia'

'Islam is not a religion,' declares anonymous protest organizer

The Council on American-Islamic relations has condemned plans for a Tea Party protest outside a southern California mosque, whose organizers are urging protesters to bring dogs with them because Muslims "hate dogs."

A recent series of unsigned emails and anonymous Web postings has called for a protest during Friday prayers outside the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, in Riverside County. Protest organizers are upset at the Islamic group's plans to build a new mosque to replace its current makeshift mosque.

One of the emails, obtained by CAIR, declared: "Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant [sic] on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law...."

The email goes on to say that Muslims "hate dogs. ... Tennessee was able to stop the Mosque so bring your Bibles, flags, signs, dogs and singing voice on Friday."

The reference to Tennessee evidently has to do with a controversy over the planned construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which has drawn opposition from some residents. Contrary to the email, planning for the mosque has not been halted.

The identity of the protest organizers "remains a mystery," reports the Los Angeles Times, but the organizers "appear to be associated with a southwest Riverside County political group affiliated with the 'tea party' movement."

In a press release, CAIR declared that the protest was being organized by the Southwest Riverside County Tea Party. Protest supporters "are being told to bring dogs to harass Muslim worshipers," CAIR said.

With the city of Temecula soon to determine whether the proposed mosque can go ahead, opposition to its construction has been growing more vocal. Opponents told the L.A. Times last week they feared the mosque would turn the area into "a haven for Islamic extremists."

That's a charge denied by members of the Temecula mosque, who point out their current mosque has been operating in Riverside County for more than a decade.

"Californians of all faiths should repudiate those who would target a house of worship using tactics specifically designed to cause offense," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles branch of CAIR. "National and state Tea Party leaders should explain why their movement has apparently deviated from its agenda on fiscal responsibility and limited government to the promotion of Islamophobia."

CAIR also notes that the organizers' assertion that Muslims "hate" dogs is wrong. "Many Muslims believe the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual ablution performed before prayer. For this reason, it has become a cultural norm for individuals not to have dogs in their houses -- not because the dog is 'hated,'" CAIR stated.

Political opposition to the construction of mosques has grown in recent weeks, primarily on the back of the controversy over the construction of a mosque several blocks away from the Ground Zero site in New York City.

A planning commission hearing to determine whether the city will allow the Temecula mosque to be built was scheduled for August 18, but it has been pushed back to November.