It’s official. Charlotte County, Virginia wants to keep Sheikh Gilani Lane.
The Board of Supervisors voted last night to retain the infamous road sign at the entrance to the Jamaat ul-Fuqra compound in Red House:
Charlotte Co., VA — The road name stays put. Sheikh Gilani Lane in Charlotte County has caused some controversy. The Justice Department says the person it’s named for is a terrorist.
The Christian Action Network and Congressman Virgil Goode have been asking the county to change the name that leads up to the Red House Muslim community. But Tuesday the board of supervisors voted unanimously to keep it as is.
The county Administrator tells us they took the vote because it has been board policy not to change road names for anybody.
The issue wasn’t on the agenda , but the Christian Action Network forced the supervisors’ hands by announcing plans to hold a demonstration against the road sign at Charlotte County Courthouse on February 20th.
I talked to Martin Mawyer, the President of Christian Action Network, on the phone tonight. He says that the supervisors’ decision was no surprise to him.
“They heard the demonstration was coming, and they just wanted the problem to go away,” he told me. “They wanted to get it over with.”
The supervisors are in a difficult position. They have to live with the Red House compound all the time — it’s not just a theoretical problem; it’s right down the road. And some Charlotte County residents are afraid.
The last time the Board of Supervisors discussed the issue was on November 21st, after the Christian Action Network made the problem public.
“I was really surprised,” said Martin. “There were about thirty guys from the Red House compound that showed up at the meeting. Big, threatening-looking guys. They wanted to make their presence known.”
And they did. At first the Board kicked the can down the road by referring the issue to their legal counsel, in case they might be violating anti-discrimination laws if they took the sign down. But Martin’s group caused them to make their decision early.
They ignored the opinion of Virgil Goode (pdf format), their own Congressman, and decided to stick with Sheikh Gilani.
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The supervisor whose district includes Red House is Nancy Carwile. According to an article in today’s Charlotte Gazette (not available online, alas), Ms. Carwile told her fellow supervisors that she had exhausted all the resources to be found on federal government websites, and seen nothing that indicated that the Muslims of America were anything other than a peaceful religious group pursuing their faith in a rural retreat.
She advised her colleagues not to trust websites with URLs that end in anything besides “.gov” — there are no restrictions on them; they can say anything they like, whether it’s true or not.
She said that she had heard some crazy things said — some people might want to “drop bombs”.
It’s obvious to me that Martin and his group are being set up as the “real terrorists” in this drama, the usual game plan followed by CAIR and its ilk. Sheikh Gilani’s followers are men of peace, simple religious folks who mean no harm to anybody. It’s those nasty Christians you have to watch out for, ready to impose their theocracy on America by force, if necessary.
Never mind the data that CAN has collected — Ms. Carwile has obviously not read the information on Jamaat ul-Fuqra here at Gates of Vienna, or at the Politics of CP, or at the South Asia Terrorism Portal, or at Bharat Rakshak, or at any of the other terrorism-monitoring websites.
Oh, that’s right — all those loony websites have URLs that don’t end in “.gov”. We can safely ignore them.
She must not have heard that the State Department — whose website most assuredly does end in “.gov” — declared Jamaat ul-Fuqra a terrorist organization back in 2000. But, then again, she’s not the type of person to let facts stand in the way of her opinion.
She’s the supervisor who approved the “Sheikh Gilani Lane” sign in the first place, so she’s got a lot at stake here.
But Martin Mawyer is sanguine about all the brouhaha.
“We’re going ahead with the demonstration on the 20th,” he said. “It’s even more important now.”