[Response to Task #10: continuous news source # 4110]
NOT IN MY BACKYARD
A man unhappy with an Islamic association's plans to build a mosque next to his property has staged pig races as a protest during afternoon prayers.
Put the shoe on the other foot. What if the town was mostly Muslim in religion and a Baptist church was opening up? What if the majority said that they feared an influx of KKK members because the Baptists were opening a church?
Craig Baker, 46, sold merchandise and grilled sausages Friday for about 100 people who showed up in heavy rain. He insisted he wasn't trying to offend anyone with the pigs, which are forbidden from the Muslim diet.
My Moslem neighbors have decided to take their fight with me to the media, hoping that by making this fight public I will come off as a red neck racist from Texas.
Baker, 46, a stone-shop owner whose family has owned the farm for two centuries, says the association knew about the pigs when they bought the property, and it’s not fair for them to ask him to get rid of the animals.
When an Islamic group moved in next door and told Craig Baker the pigs on his family’s 200-year-old Texas farm had to go, he and his swine decided to fight back.
I was wrong, because shortly after I left, the subject returned to my new neighbors. A spokesman for the KIA got up and went to the podium and gave a short speech about what was planned on the site.
Then Mr. Fotough said that it was probably a good idea for me to start thinking about packing up my business, along with my family and moving somewhere further out in the country. They felt that a mosque and a marble shop did not go well together.
Then we will see who is lying and who is telling the truth.
Spray the fields with pig blood. It works faster than manure and is sticky sweet. Paint the fence and barn with it. We're always ready for a smoke-carried-on-the-wind barbeque. Nothing like the smell of burning pig flesh any time of day. Nobody would ever tell me that crap. My land; I'll do what and when I want. I'm hungry. Gotta go.
I figured that the remainder of the program was going to be about matters that affected the HOA so I left.
They don't own his land so they'd better get used to the pig being a neighbor. And since he isn't muslim, pig races on friday aren't against his tenets. Perhaps a high fence can solve the problem?
Approximately a week later the previous owner's huge FOR SALE BY OWNER sign was covered with a brand new yellow banner announcing: COMING SOON KIA COMMUNITY CENTER.
"I am just defending my rights and my property," Baker said. "They totally disrespected me and my family."
"I don't care if he races, roasts or slaughters pigs," said Yousef Allam, a spokesman for the group.
Both sides here are acting like children. One, the Muslims had no right to tell the farmer what he could and could not do on his own property. His rights go just as far as his property does, same for the Muslims. Two, the farmer could have just said no to them and left it at that. But no, he had to act like a smart aleck and try to get under their skin by holding the pig races.
The dispute began when the association asked Baker to remove his cattle from its newly bought land. The association plans to build a mosque, community center, athletic facilities and a school.
Resident Susan Canavespe said the pig racing wasn't mean-spirited -- "It's just Texas-spirited."
He told me he was from Egypt and his partner was from Pakistan, and that they were bringing many new families in from as far as 5,000 miles away.
Baker agreed to move his cattle but thought the Muslims also wanted him off the land his family has lived on for more than 100 years.
Earlier this month, Baker conceded that the Muslims probably aren't after his land, but he said he had to go through with the pig races because "I would be like a total idiot if I didn't. I'd be the laughingstock now because I've gone too far."
"If we somehow communicated that to him, then we apologize," he said.
When an Islamic group moved in next door and told Craig Baker the pigs on his family's 200-year-old Texas farm had to go, he and his swine decided to fight back.
Craig's neighbors, the Katy Islamic Association, have plans to build a mosque and community compound on the 11 acres they purchased alongside his farm.
Baker, 46, a stone-shop owner whose family has owned the farm for two centuries, says the association knew about the pigs when they bought the property, and it's not fair for them to ask him to get rid of the animals.
"I am just defending my rights and my property," Baker said. "They totally disrespected me and my family."
Initially Baker and Kamel Fotouh, the president of the 500-member Islamic Association, were on good terms. But things turned sour at a town meeting, where Baker says Fotouh insulted him by asking him to move.
Kornhauser made the demand that I remove my pigs from my land immediately. Should I fail to do so his client will contact the appropriate authorities and take what ever measures necessary to protect their interest. Further Kornhauser demanded that I remove the website
"That was the last straw for me... calling me a liar, especially in front of three or four hundred people at that meeting," Baker said. "Mr. Fotouh said it would be a good idea if I considered packing up my stuff and moving out further to the country."
It isn't going over real well.
"We feel that these mosques are not fulfilling the needs of the community as they should. So, our vision is to have an integrated facility," said Fotouh.
On Thursday 11/30/06 Rush Limbaugh made mention of this for almost three minutes, then again on 12/07/06 Rush brought the matter up again.
Muslims do not hate pigs, he added, they just don't eat them.
Neighbors have been showing support for Baker's races, even coming in the pouring rain and giving donations ranging from $100 to $1000 to sponsor the events.
Immediately I started receiving calls from a nearby neighborhood asking if I knew what was about to be built on the property. I provided each concerned citizen as much information as I knew.
Last Friday, more than 100 attended the pig races, and many say they don't want the mosque either. Some fear it will appear out of place and hurt their property values.
I've been reading up on this story, and also watching various news programs comments... For the record, Fox News rarely gets any story right, so for those who have commented on that, is it really a surprise?
"The dispute began when the association asked Baker to remove his cattle from its newly bought land. Baker agreed to move his cattle but thought the Muslims also wanted him off the land his family has lived on for more than 100 years."
Let me start by saying that I am NOT saying this to sound racist against muslims, but they have NO RIGHT to just come la-de-da-ing on the scene and start giving the farmer orders, and especially to tell him that he HAS TO move.... thats bulls*** .
That aside, the fact of the matter is that these people who oppose this mosque have not given a single reason for opposition that isn't racist.
Racism is tired, and the fact that here in the United States (where all men are created equal... give us your tired your poor... the country being founded on Protestants wanting to have religious freedom from the Catholics of Europe...) it just keeps breeding its ugly face in various communities and keeps getting passed on to our children is just a huge pile of bull.
I have seen this news elsewhere. The farmer may have been the seller of the land, according to one source. Nonetheless he was pasturing cattle on land no longer or not his and was asked to remove the herd. So he decided to have some "good ol' boy fun" that didn't work out.
"Earlier this month, Baker conceded that the Muslims probably aren't after his land, but he said he had to go through with the pig races because "I would be like a total idiot if I didn't. I'd be the laughingstock now because I've gone too far."
Being one who is a little less inclined to believe much of anything on "Faux News" (I love that term! wish I'd heard it before.) I'd be more inclined to believe the majority of the other articles I was able to find on this subject. All of them included the two paragraphs above. I'm pretty much leaning towards the opinion that the area is being bigotted towards the Muslims, and this farmer needs to pull his head out of his arse. He's already acting like a total idiot and laughing stock.
Fox has graciously provided a video of the event as well.
The Mosque did not ask the farmer to move. He misinterpreted something they said, and then went off half-cocked. He understands that now, but has gone forward with the pig races to try to save face.
He went on to say that many of these new people that they would be bringing in would be unfamiliar with many of the local customs, and/or ways of doing things, and that most would not be able to speak English at first.
The Muslims aren't nearly as impressed by the pig race as the farmer had hoped -- Muslims are forbidden to eat pig, what someone else does with pigs is no concern of theirs.
When I returned to my office two of my employees asked what was wrong. I told them that the new neighbors had said I should start thinking about packing up and moving out, and I fully explained what was said and what my new neighbor's intentions were.
The pig farm was there long before the Muslims bought the property, the pig farmer has prior rights; the Muslims have absolutely no legal right to ask the pig farm to move.
That and having strangers constantly around can be bothersome especailly if a neighboring farms animals are grazing near by.
Frankly I see neither side as in the right. Or at least, both sides are acting like children and that undermines any legitimate point they may have had.
Fotouh had no business asking his neighbor to move. Especially when Fotouh was the one moving in. How could he have missed a pig farm right next door to the property he was looking at?
But on the other hand, Baker acted like an idiot. So what if Fotouh asked him to move? Fotouh has no power to compel him to move if Baker doesn't want to go. I have had friends who were in a similar situation of neighbors wanting them to move. My friends just ignored them. And while not necessarily racist it did show a deep ignorance of Islam to think that pig races would insult Muslims.
As Fotouh said, they don't hate pigs, they just don't eat them. I don't eat cat. That hardly means I have some cultural phobia about them.
Take more time to learn about other cultures... I mean, isn't that what we were founded on?
And some on Baker's side obviously were being racist. They aren't against the mosque becuase Baker was insulted. They just don't want Muslims living next to them.
Baker and Fotouh should both just grow up, stop trying to insult the other and get on with thier lives.
The gentlemen were very friendly, but spoke with a heavy Middle Eastern accent. They told me how much they loved the United States and how they had such big plans for the land. They said that their children had grown up right here in America, and they said that their ultimate dream is to build a parking lot, a new community center, an athletic facility, a school, and a mosque.
Maybe what he did was a tad juvinile, but the muslim groups attitude sucked canal water. Here in NY they just passed the "castle" bill which gies you the right to defend your property.
Maybe the farmer would not have done what he did if the muslims had not come in and acted like they own everyone and everything. Their attitude is getting ridiculous lately.
Although I can see why the neighbors might not want the mosqe (sp?) to be built. I live across the street from a temple that was poorly placed on a residential street. It is always full of people and it makes living on the block very bad. Since they are on acers of farmland and not a residential street the situation is different, but it would decresse oroperty value and it would cause more traffic.
This link has a different version (that it was cows on their newly purchased land, and that Baker misunderstood the request as a request for him to move as well.)
Before they left, they provided me with their cell phone numbers so that if I ever had a problem I would be able to get in touch with them. I of course reciprocated the gesture, but I did not say much of anything because I was simply trying to digest what I had heard.
My understanding of the Muslim faith is not one of hate, sexism, or fundamentalism, and especially not of terrorism.
If the former owner of the Muslims' property failed to disclose that there was a pig farm next door, then it is he who is responsible for the whole problem, as I find it hard to believe that the Muslims would have bought property next to a pig farm had they known about it.
"Last Friday, more than 100 attended the pig races, and many say they don't want the mosque either. Some fear it will appear out of place and hurt their property values."
I'd be happy to show both parties, why Swine are sacred to Mohammed. Of course, it would involve attainment of The Resurrection, and they'd no longer need The Koran.
As for the people who are complaining about property values, get over yourselves and admit to the REAL reason you don't want them there.
Not quite sure who. This fuss is nothing compared to the reaction to wind farms, else where in that state. One would thinkthat a lot of space between neighbors would cut down on the friction.
I remember seeing this or a similar article before. The People building the mosque didn't ask the man to remove pigs from his own land, they asked the man to remove cows from the land projected to be on the site for the mosque, and just wanted the neighboring farmer to fence his animals from trespassing on the new property.
I immediately typed up a nice thank you note and returned the clock that same day. I had planned on just letting the other matter die of natural causes right then and there.
This just goes to show you that not all articles get their information straight. It's ridiculous how even small details change the overall information.
I agree it was stupid of them to ask him to remove farm animals from his own land, and even more stupid to suggest in a town meeting situation that a family who has lived there for generations should move off their hereditary holdings because of a single new neighbor's complaint.
But have any of you ever *smelled* a pig farm? I've had the non-pleasure of living downwind from a small one, and let me tell you, pig droppings are...uh, pungent, to say the least. I'm sure the Muslims felt like they had good reason to complain, after a few of the unseasonably warm, windy days we've been having this winter. But I'd think that with 11 acres they'd be able to put their buildings well away from the worst of the stink.
Apparently the Muslims thought better of their actions and said fine, so be it, they'll build their mosque and let him have his pigs on his land. Hopefully the two groups can just let bygones by bygones and be friends. Time will tell.
Interestingly enough, the very first accounts I read of this situation said that he was a farmer, but not a pig farmer. Those accounts also said he went out and bought the pigs after the Muslims bought the property with the sole intent of holding the pig races. Funny how the "facts" change as time goes along, eh?
Good for the farmer. He was there first. They could have bought land elsewhere. Yes, I'm a little jaded, my ex was Muslim.
No violence and hostility but a refusal to let someone else dictate your life. It reminds me of when the KKK wanted to spnsor a section of highway. Lots of controversy but nothing legal to do about it other than stop the whole program...so they accepted the application, then promptly renamed the section of highway the Rosa Parks Memorial highway.
They asked that I remove my cattle from this 11-acre tract & remove my electrical fence. They said they were going to use the existing house as a community center. Children would be coming to play on the grounds, and as an engineer, Mr. Fotough felt it was unsafe for them to be around the cattle. Since 1995 I had been leasing this property from the Sacco’s to run my Limousine cattle on.
Neighbors tell us they're concerned about traffic and drainage and a little fear of the unknown. Some of the homeowners even offered to buy the land back for more than a million dollars. The K.I.A. doesn't seem very interested in the offers.
"We're not going anywhere," said Katy Islamic Association member Alvi Muzfar.
Craig Baker owns pigs. He's the guy behind the second big yellow sign on Baker Road. That's the one announcing Friday night pig races.
"What does it matter, I can do whatever I want with my land right," asked landowner Craig Baker.
Now before you go thinking Craig Baker is unfair, or full of hate, or somehow racist, hear him out.
Baker has long roots here. His family named the road and when the new neighbors moved in, he tells us, they asked him to move out.
"Basically that I should package up my family and my business and find a place elsewhere," said Baker. "That's ridiculous, they just bought the place one week prior and he's telling me I should think about leaving."
On September 29,2006 at 11:30 AM, Mr. Yousuf N. Shaikh & Mr. Kamel H. Fotough came to my office to introduce themselves to me as the new neighbors. These two gentlemen informed me that they had purchased the adjacent house along with the 11-acre tract of land from the Sacco family on 09/22/06.
They felt that they were going to need a total of 25 acres to complete this project, which might take them as long as five years to complete.
They went into great detail how they wanted to provide a complete atmosphere where their friends could bring their entire families to worship and to play, and they said they would even provide security for the entire site. They felt that there was no other place on the far west side of Houston that was able to handle their needs.
While I was walking these men out, I offered to give them some granite fill, free of charge for their new driveway that they had planned.
Last Friday, more than 100 attended the pig races, and many say they don’t want the mosque either. Some fear it will appear out of place and hurt their property values.
I must have had a look of total shock on my face.
On the following Wednesday, 10/04/06, a new collector's crystal wall clock was delivered to my office as a gift. The card attached said: To: Craig Baker From: New Neighbors.
"I am just defending my rights and my property," Baker said. "They totally disrespected me and my family."
Neighbors have been showing support for Baker’s races, even coming in the pouring rain and giving donations ranging from $100 to $1000 to sponsor the events.
Per my lease and the Texas Statutes I had the right to leave my cattle and the fence on the property for 180 days from the date I received written notice to remove them. However, I had my employees remove the cattle and the fences the next day.
I began by detailing my one and only meeting with these new owners. At the meeting there were a couple of lawyers, a president of one of the local Home Owners Association, several neighbors who lived down the street, and several other neighbors who's property backed up to the proposed site for the mosque. To say the least this group of people was extremely concerned.
No one had ever heard of this group “KIA” prior to the sign going up. It was agreed that the best course of action was to get the entire community made aware of this group's plan to build.
The following Tuesday a public meeting was arranged at Pattison Elementary School so that the Harris County public officials could inform the public just what could and couldn't be built on the site.
He further informed the group that he was a Muslim. He said he was originally from Chicago, and had fought in the Vietnam War so that people would have the right to practice any religion they chose.
That was the last straw for me … calling me a liar, especially in front of three or four hundred people at that meeting," Baker said. "Mr. Fotouh said it would be a good idea if I considered packing up my stuff and moving out further to the country."
It was clear to him as well as the other members present that the neighbors were against the building of the mosque simply cause they were Muslims.
Among the many other people at the meeting were the KIA owners, along with several of their members. One of my friends stood up and asked why the owners told Craig Baker that he should consider packing up and leaving.
The Muslim speaker said that they never would say something like that. My friend stood up to state that he has known me for many years, and if Craig Baker said something, then he knew it was true.
On the tape recording that was being made of the meeting, you can hear “well then Craig Baker is an out right liar." I learned of this the following day.
Now, my family has deep roots here on Baker Rd. Houston, TX. As a matter of fact, a Baker has been living right on this land as far back as the early 1800’s. We are fast approaching 200 years being settled on this piece of land.
The Baker family has not always found it easy living here. In the 1940's the Baker family lost most of its land to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers through a process known as eminent domain.
The only land I have ever sold off was to my best friend Don.
I cut off two acres next to my home so he could build his home, and of course he still lives there today. Although it is not a huge amount of land, I have tried to put the parcels back together and create a small farm like atmosphere for my children to grow up in. I have always kept thirty to forty head of cattle on my property.
Many of these neighbors asked if they could meet with me to discuss any possible options. I agreed for them to come over to my place of business on the following Thursday night. A total of fourteen people showed up at my office for this meeting, which began at 7:00 PM.
Upon learning that I was called a liar I became determined to make a statement to everyone that I was not leaving.
Not only that, I am taking a stand. I will use my property as I see fit. I went to a local printing shop and had a huge banner made up. The banner states “COMING SOON WEEKLY FRIDAY NIGHT PIG RACING.”
I have sent two separate letters to Mr. Shaikh and Mr. Fotough to try to find a way to resolve this crisis -- one on 10/14/06 and the other on 11/28/06. I offered to act as a facilitator to assist in selling their property to the neighborhoods, which in turn would turn the vacant land into a public park. I did not receive a response until 12/01/06.
He claims again that his clients did not state that I should move out, and that is “totally false." Now I have made the offer in writing, on the radio, and on TV that I will pay for three lie detector test. One for each of the owners, and one for me. The sole question to be asked is: Did they, on 09/29/06 tell me that I should consider packing up my business and my family and moving?
Muslims don't hate pigs, they just don't eat them, said engineer Kamel Fotouh, president of the 500-member Katy Islamic Association in this Houston suburb.
Since that time I have done two other TV interviews one with CBS Channel 11, and one with Fox Channel 26. I also gave interviews for the print media to the Houston Chronicle, the Katy Times, and the Associated Press.
The article I originally read this from might be wrong, but unfortunately I don't have a link to the article I've read previously.
It is high time that we as Americans “Take A Stand!”