Apparently, there's an Islamic university in Brunei, and someone in my town has a relationship with them. As he owns some land here, he decided to donate land to this organization for the purpose of starting a Muslim community center. Just a quick note: we have about 100 Muslim families in our town, and that number is growing. (We also have a pretty healthy Hindu community. It's pretty fun, but that's neither here nor there.) Currently, the Muslim worship center around here is properly termed a cultural center, and it's about the size of my house. Which is pretty tiny. It's probably some kind of fire hazard or something.
Edit: I have since heard from someone who actually went and talked to our local imam and Muslim clerics that the planned community center is not, in fact, affiliated with the Brunei university. Big surprise there. It's funded by a private individual whose name is Unissa, apparently. Fun times.
Anyway. No sooner did certain people in my town hear about this absolutely awful Big Bad Plot than they started talking about it anywhere they got the chance: on Facebook, on message boards, on news stories, at council meetings. Now, I'm all for getting your concerns out there. That's perfectly logical.
But dear people...why?
Of course, compounding all this is a government investment program geared towards immigrants. Our City Council is (quite misguidedly, in my opinion) planning a grand redevelopment of our downtown area. It's pretty ridiculous and wasteful, for multiple reasons, but I won't get into that here. The thing that is getting the We Hate Muslims Club into such a tizzy is the EB-5 program.
Quick overview of EB-5: it allows foreign investors to gain green cards much more quickly than they would otherwise. Basically, they have to invest no less than $500,000 in a struggling or new business in the US, create 10 stable jobs for 2 years, and they will then get a green card. Note that all regular forms and tests for citizenship have to be completed and performed, no exceptions. In effect, the only thing EB-5 allows foreign investors to do is get put at the top of the list for the 100,000 or so green cards we issue each year. (The cap for green card admittance into the US - that is, total, all the dependents who come with the actual holder, etc., is 480,000.)
There are a few different tacks people in my hometown are taking in opposing this:
- It's "not fair"
- We'll let evil Muslims in
- Or possibly commies, which is even worse, naturally
- We don't need foreign investment. Because, obviously, national investors are investing in our hometown. Obviously.
To the first, let me just say: life isn't fair. It's not been fair for many years. If you think people don't already buy their way into this country, you are very naive, and probably trust your government way too much. The fact is that people with more money will always get in first, or get preferential treatment, or be the only ones who get in. It's how it works. Yeah, it's not "fair"...but as I said, life's not fair. Get used to the idea.
As to commies and Muslims (or possibly commie Muslims, which is much worse than the two separately)...really?
First, let me make it clear that not every Muslim is radical. In fact, not even most Muslims are radical. The percentages for radicalized Islam are very low. They're rising, but that's more due to our actions in their countries and the foothold bin Laden's ideology took than anything. Just because someone calls itself Islamic - be it a university or a grocery store or a kiddie pool - doesn't mean it's radical. Seeing as there are over 1 billion Muslims on the planet, and only about 400,000 of them actually want to kill us - and probably less than 100,000 actually have anything near the capability to do so - I'm pretty sure we're relatively safe.
Furthermore, let's face facts. If you're bent on causing destruction and mayhem in as cheap a manner as possible (considering you've probably come from a poverty-ridden family in Afghanistan somewhere), are you really going to have the resources or inclination to invest $500,000 USD in a company, stick around for two years while you create 10 jobs, get your green card...
All just to blow something up?
Am I the only one who doesn't see the logic in that? It simply makes no sense for someone to go to all that trouble, especially considering it's not all that difficult to get into this country some other way. Just go to Mexico first, and you can practically dance across the border. After all, we do have such a big illegal immigration problem, it can't be that hard. Right? Furthermore, considering how much Muslims like making babies, they'll out-breed us long before they manage to blow us all up.
As to the communists: we've been there, done that. Get out of the sixties already.
Investors aren't coming to our hometown. There's probably a reason for that. I think it has something to do with the fact that nobody even knows where it is, and even though we're one of the larger cities in Texas, people prefer DFW or Houston to our town. Sorry, but them's the facts. Not to mention, our people make huge talking points out of things like EB-5. And you wonder why people think we're a little bit mad.
So in summary: America's still free, even for Muslims. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And for the love of my sanity, please stop harping on things that don't really matter.
Edit 11/21/11: For a related, more Christian-oriented post, see this post on my personal blog.