Springfield, MO—Wednesday afternoon as children were getting out of school and night-school students were heading to school, a group of concerned Springfieldians prepared to march all the way from the Abu Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque to the square to condemn the building of the mosque, finished in 1923, and also to promote walking as a safe, fun, low-impact form of cardio.
“The construction happened way too close to 9-11.” said Jon Sudholt, one marcher wearing an orange hunting cap, evidently so he wouldn’t be mistaken for a protesting deer. “Building it anywhere near 70 years of September 11, 2001 just seems insensitive.”
Even though Shriners do not practice Islam, and the group was founded in New York in 1870 by Dr. Walter Fleming and William Florence, both Americans, who thought it would be fun to imitate Arabic ceremonies and architecture, many members of the community now find the building very offensive. One woman interviewed said, “Sure I’ve driven by the place every day for the last 50 years. It’s an important part of Springfield’s skyline. And my family loves the Shrine Circus. But we have to think about the families of the victims of 9-11, who have probably never been to the circus here. With today’s political climate, I just think the Mosque is in bad taste.”
Sudholt concluded, “I agree that it is an historic landmark, and should be protected by the National Register of Historic Places. It just feels really Muslimy.” Then he added “Or Russian.”
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