Back in 2010, Kyle noted that the American Center for Law and Justice was organizing a campaign to stop the construction of the Park 51 Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero while simultaneously championing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which they praised for making sure that never again will “our nation’s houses of faith have their freedom to worship where and how they choose violated by ignorant or hostile zoning officials.” Now it appears that Pamela Geller, who worked alongside ACLJ executive director Jordan Sekulow against the establishment of Park 51, wants to repeal the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act altogether because it might benefit Muslim worshipers.
While speaking with conservative radio host Janet Mefferd yesterday, Geller called for the repeal of RLUIPA because “it’s become a weapon in which to club small towns and cities” where Muslims are seeking to establish mosques, lamenting, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” She said that Muslims are “dishonest” with local governments by “circumventing the rules” on capacity requirements because they pray on their knees. Geller said that RLUIPA must be repealed for the sake of the “freedom from religion,” a phrase normally anathema to Religious Right audiences.
Mefferd: You had talked about the necessity of repealing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, I guess this is what Holder is using to pressure this Virginia board of supervisors to approve this mega-mosque, what is this Act and why is it necessary?
Geller: It’s not necessary, frankly. I urge the repeal of this Act. I’m not sure who it was, I could have it wrong, I don’t know if it was Orrin Hatch, this is not a finger pointing kind of a thing, it’s more ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ It was unnecessary, it was an idea that there should be no religious persecution of houses of worship and so on and so forth, and that was all well and good, but it’s become a weapon in which to club small towns and cities.
Look, no one is saying that you can’t build a mosque, even with the Ground Zero Mosque; there are hundreds of mosques in New York City, we know there are thousands of mosques nationwide, but these giant structures, they completely change the complexion of a town. It could be a small town, residential. I’m telling you I have seen it time and time again, irrecognizable three to five years later. The call to prayer, the parking, hundreds of people. Again, there is an element of dishonesty here because as you know in Islam they got on their knees so you don’t count a chair with that. But it’s important because it’s a way of circumventing the rules, you can’t say ‘it seats 500 or it seats whatever.’ It’s not just freedom of religion here in America, it’s also freedom from religion here in America.