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Stettner: Vandalism at the Islamic Center in Fort Collins illustrates continued religious extremism

Sunday morning, the Islamic Center of Fort Collins was vandalized. After being unable to enter the building, the vandal (which is putting it lightly) broke through three glass doors with rocks, overturned furniture, dumped out trash and, most distinctly, threw a Bible into a prayer room.

This event hits home, but it has been a part of a growing number of verbal and physical assaults on religious spaces throughout the country.


According to a poll done by the Huffington Post and YouGov 32 percent of Americans believe Christianity should be the official religion of the United States. While the First Amendment protects against this, it is an alarming number to see how many people believe the United States is well represented by Christianity. With recent threats to other religious communities, it is more alarming to see how many believe in this idea enough to act violently. Beyond protections of religion and speech explicitly stated in the Constitution, this country was rooted in one thing: freedom from religious persecution.

A quick history lesson: all the original settlers of the future United States were here for religious freedom. Many of these families were facing punishment for openly practicing their beliefs, so they escaped to a place where they could practice freely. The United States went on to become the first country to have no declared established religion, emphasizing the importance of separating the church and the state.

American culture is not one of Christianity. Christianity happens to be the religion of those who decided to immigrate to North America during that time, but it was even those Christian founding fathers who realized what America became was much more important than a Christian safe haven, it was a country for any and all facing religious, political or any other kind of persecution.

That makes Sunday’s crime much more egregious. For an American Christian to persecute another religious community and destroy the sanctity of their space is the most un-American thing I can think of.

I have little doubt that the increase in religious aggression in this country is tied to the nationalist and immigrant-fearing culture here. It’s a clear connection, but it boggles my mind logically. You would think that the proudest, the most “American” people would be opening their arms to minority religious communities, yet ignorance continues to run rampant.

The rally held Sunday night at the center was somber, but simultaneously encouraging seeing so much community support. As members of the Fort Collins community, it is important to reject any racist or prejudiced rhetoric and continue to hold people accountable for their words.

For those interested, the Islamic Center of Fort Collins has a donation page on their website as well as a GoFundMe page. Funds will go to the repair of their facility as well as increased security measures.

Collegian Columnist Alexandra Stettner can be reached at and on Twitter at @alexstetts.

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  • M

    Menachem MevashirApr 13, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Dear Ahmad,

    If you ever would like to get together for coffee, I’d be happy to meet you.

    I recently wrote this to a Muslim man who read my Qur’an commentary:

    Dear Muhtar [the Chosen One],


    HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT SURAH 2:69 says the cow was yellow but the Torah clearly states it was red?

    See notes 17-19 on pages 51-53 of my commentary here:

    Many BlesSings to you!

    PS I admire Muslim dress codes and modesty. Yesterday I was on the college bus. Two women sat opposite me. One was Muslim dressed in beautiful modest clothing. The other was an American girl, dressed practically in her underwear. It was very distracting and very strong lesson in the superiority of Muslim practices.

  • M

    Menachem MevashirMar 29, 2017 at 8:25 am

    While I am not condoning what happened Sunday, readers should be aware of distortions of the biblical text found in the Qur’an that will anger Christians.

    Muslims come with great arrogance and tell us that our sacred text that predates theirs by 600 years is full of errors. Islam’s attitude to Christianity and the Bible is disrespectful and engenders extremist actions like this.

    See this link about my commentary on Qur’anic deviations from the Bible:

    I can send a pdf copy of the full commentary that is appended to an English translation of the Qur’an to anyone who requsts one by email:

    The sad truth is that in their home-countries, Muslims show zero tolerance for other religions. If you have the misfortune of having to travel to Saudi Arabia, if you try to carry a bible into their country it will be confiscated. Christians and Jews are not allowed to operate houses of worship but must huddle inside private homes. Saudi Arabia is a fascist religious dictatorship.

    Then they come to places like CSU to study, throw away their kefiyahs and expect to be treated with dignity and respect by us American Christians and Jews. Their attitude is one of unmitigated gall and chutzpah and the rest of us are suckers for tolerating it.

    We don’t have to encourage violence against the Muslim immigrants, who are here in Fort Collins only because they pay full ride tuition which is a big boon for CSU and the city. But neither do we have to shed tears for them when they suffer acts of bigotry that they themselves do not hesitate to perpetrate against any and all non-Muslims unfortunate enough to have to live in or travel to their desertified countries.

    • A

      AhmadMar 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Justifying the hate crime against the Islamic Center is, maybe, not the right thing to do. Set back and read what you have wrote. You do not need shed tears for Muslims suffer such terrorist barbaric acts because you cannot even if you wanted to. You only need to show some respect for your fellow Americans who happened to be Muslims. Yet, if you cannot do either, simply chose another low time to pass your hate speech.

      • M

        Menachem MevashirApr 1, 2017 at 3:29 pm

        I wrote explicitly that I do NOT justify what was done to your building. But i would hardly call it an act of terrorism. Compared to what your jihadists do to people every day, this was a peck on the cheek.

        I’ve been to many mosques including praying in them.

        When I pray inside mosques, I always ask G+D top reveal to Muslims who Jesus really is.

        If you hunger and thirst for truth and righteousness, you will read my commentary on the Qur’an. It is free. You have nothing to lose but your pride and ignorance.

        • A

          AhmadApr 3, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          Never bother praying for Muslims, just stop promoting hate speech against them and keep quiet, at least, when someone commits a terrorist attack against their centers. Given the arrogance and denial you live in, I would not be surprised if you blame Jesus crucifixion on Jihadists.

          • M

            Menachem MevashirApr 4, 2017 at 2:19 pm

            Jews and Romans crucified Jesus. Jewish extremists were like Jihadists in those days. Some are still with us today:

          • A

            AhmadApr 4, 2017 at 2:37 pm

            So, probably Jewish extremists and Jihadists bombed Japan with nukes and slaughtered millions in Africa, Australia and America. Brainstorm and try to find some way to blame those you hate.

          • M

            Menachem MevashirApr 4, 2017 at 2:52 pm

            If you read this article i just sent to the Collegian, you will see that I support Palestinian human rights, even as I oppose the Scriptural distortions of the Qur’an. I realize this is a level of subtlety that might confound you. But really if you try to stop exaggerating and acting with mental hysteria, you might get it!

            See also this fusion word for G+D incorporating the name Allah:

            It’s hard for me to believe a professor could resort to so much blatant exaggeration distortion and lies!

            I am not attacking you personally. Only illustrating the ways the Qur’an alters Biblical narratives. Why do you find that so threatening? And why do you deny that Muslim countries totally suppress religious freedom of minorities?

          • A

            AhmadApr 4, 2017 at 4:30 pm

            You are really committing a mental treason to yourself. The level of your ignorance to facts makes you go around the main topic and keep blaming Muslims for what your own religion’s followers did to the humanity. Being of that denial to the fact that the attack to the Islamic center is a terrorist act and trying to justify it, trying to blame every tragedy in this planet on others but your religion, and being of that level of racism, disqualifies you from preaching people on how bad other religions are and how much your sick views of others are true. Speaking of religious freedom of minorities, Churches in our countries are older than of any country in the west. On the other hand, I hope you do not think the inquisition as a kind of religious freedom and inclusion. I would not be surprised though.

          • M

            Menachem MevashirApr 5, 2017 at 7:53 am

            I don’t deny the abuses committed by Christian churches like the Catholics. You are very correct. The people persecuted in Muslim countries are Christian evangelicals who are not associated with any major denomination but sacrificially try to bring the healing blessings of Christ to Muslim people. The Imams and government officials fear that their people will be healed by Jesus and no longer need the rigid oppressive control of Islam, which is devoid of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

            If you are a counselor or therapist, then I hope and pray you will avail yourself of these gifts that come via faith in Christ, not via rote prostrations on carpets five times a day.

            See this deliverance prayer:

          • M

            Menachem MevashirApr 5, 2017 at 8:02 am

            I don’t understand why you call the attack on the mosque “terrorism”? It was actually an act of simple vandalism.

            Terrorism is perpetrated in a public way designed to intimidate and terrify large numbers of people. The perpetrator of this simple vandalism did it in the wee hours of the morning. This is the OPPOSITE of terrorism.

            A true terrorist attack on your mosque, G+D forbid, would have taken place during the Friday noon prayers, with bombs or other forms of weaponry designed to inflict maximum mortality and mayhem.

            The vandalism you endured is bad, but you don’t need to exaggerate and become hysterical.

            It only undermines the legitimacy of your grievances (if you actually care about accuracy and truth).

            Since you ignore my offer to share with you my commentary on the errors in the Qur’an, I am not at all sure that truth is a value for you.

            Too bad.

            Ahmad means Praised One. May you be worthy of your name.


  • T

    Thomas McMar 27, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Vile Nazi Christians.