Two mosques were burned to the ground in Texas in January. Already I should revise the Author’s Note in my novel, Masjid Morning, just published on November 10, 2016.
The book is about the determined effort of a group of men to stop the construction of a mosque. I added the note because I did not want my readers–especially those from overseas–to think that destruction of mosques is common in the United States. So, I reported in my note, “For general information, in 2011, there were 2106 mosques in the U.S. . . . Three in the U.S. have been destroyed—all by fire: the Islamic Center of Yuba City in California in 1994, the Islamic Center in Columbia, Tennessee in February, 2008, and the Islamic Society [mosque] of Joplin Missouri in 2012.”
Now I must add two more, in 2017: the Islamic Center of Lake Travis, Texas (near Austin) on January 3, and the Islamic Center of Victoria (southwest of Houston) on January 28, the night after President Trump’s order
- banning Muslim immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia for 90 days,
- suspending refugee admissions for 120 days until the White House deems the refugees to be properly vetted, and
- capping the overall number of refugees admitted during 2017 at 50,000, down from the current level of 110,000. (In contrast, the U.S. admitted more than 800,000 Vietnamese refugees after the end of the Vietnam War.)
“We don’t want ’em here,” President Trump said of the Muslim immigrants, inciting throngs of people to demonstrate against the ban on Saturday and thereafter in cities across the country and even in Berlin, Paris and London.
Did Mr. Trump’s words encourage the arsonists in Victoria? I don’t know.
Whatever the answer, please pencil in the Islamic Center of Lake Travis, Texas, and the Islamic Center of Victoria, Texas on page 261 of your copy of Masjid Morning.