Plans to build a new cemetery for Muslims in Farmersville, Texas have been met with outrage and concern from the residents. The small town (estimated population of 3,400) is opposed to the recent purchase of a cemetery by The Islamic Association of Collin County. The 34-acre plot is needed, say Muslim supporters, because the nearest Muslim burying ground will soon run out of room. Be that as it may, Collin County residents want to keep a new one out of their backyard.
Many concerned residents came out to a community meeting on Tuesday to pressure city officials to revoke the purchase. But officials weren’t as interested in debating the plans as they were in assuaging fears. Residents were told that the cemetery would meet all state standards and that there was no reason to fear the implications of the burial ground.
Not everyone was convinced.
“People don’t trust Muslims,” one Farmersville woman told the Dallas Morning News. “Their goal is to populate the United States and take it over.”
City officials have yet to make a final decision on the cemetery.
As usual, the flap over the cemetery has local Islamic leaders claiming that this incident is proof that Islamophobia is out of control. But what these leaders fail to realize is that the actions of their own followers has led directly to this backlash. You can run your mouth all day long about “peaceful Islam” and “moderate Islam.” When people only hear about your religion when some nutcase is detonating a bomb, you’re fighting an uphill battle. It might be wiser to actually address these systemic problems in your culture if you want to change the hearts and minds of Americans.
Instead, the only time we hear from these leaders is when they are either A) apologizing for terrorism or B) crying foul over something someone said about Islam. Is excessive sensitivity a requirement for every Muslim? What is it about this religion that creates so much anger and discontent? Why is it that no Islamic-American leaders preach a message of patriotism? Perhaps if Muslims went out of their way to become a force for good in the U.S., these prejudices would fall by the wayside. The constant victim complex gets old.
Are the residents of Farmersville making a mountain out of a molehill? Probably. But when everything you see or hear from the Islamic community is related in some way to death, war, and backwards laws, it’s hard to come down too hard on the “bigots.” Islamophobia is real, all right. And the reasons for that fear are real, too.