July 20th, 2010
06:23 PM ET

Most Intriguing People: Mahmoud Harmoush

Mahmoud Harmoush, the imam of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley in California, says he is surprised by the level of criticism aimed at the center's plans to replace its current mosque – now located between a pipeline company and a packaging warehouse – with a new mosque on four acres near Temecula's housing developments.

The Los Angeles Times reports that opponents of the mosque fear it could turn the community of 105,000 into a haven for Islamic extremists.

"The Islamic foothold is not strong here, and we really don't want to see their influence spread," said Pastor Bill Rench of Calvary Baptist Church.

Harmoush told the newspaper, "Our children go to the same schools their children go to. We shop at the same stores where they shop." He added, "All of a sudden our neighbors wake up and they're opposed to us building the Islamic center there, the mosque. I hope it's a small group."

According to the mosque's website, Harmoush completed his religious studies at private institutions in Syria and was taught by a circle of well-known scholars in the Middle East and in North America. Since 2007 he has been on the faculty at the California State University in San Bernardino, teaching the Arabic language and Islamic culture.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Houses of worship • Islam • Mosque

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. meranaam

    And here you can see how one person can be so cruel still justified under a religion.

    www aurangzeb.info/

    July 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  2. meranaam

    on the lighter side enjoy some cartoons. 🙂


    July 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  3. meranaam

    Following is an article by ex-muslim Saleem Smith about Islam. You can read whole article on islam-watch dot org and search for 'The Myth of Islam Being a Religion of Purity, Part 1'. Regarding your comment about Gandhi, he is as ignorant as any other modern politican who says 'Islam is Religion of Peace'. What an irony.

    The Notion of Islamic Purity:

    This article will attempt to make clear that no human being or religion has ever done as much harm to the well-being of humanity as has Muhammad bin Abdullah of Arabian fame and his barbaric cult of Islam.
    The Islamic “holy books” are filled with empty claims stating that Islam is a pure and true religion. For 1400 years, many well-meaning Muslims have dedicated their lives attempting to improve and advance Muhammad’s cult of death and destruction. It is high-time that Muslims take a good hard look at the life of Muhammad and the details of this sick man’s religion of fear and hatred. It is ridiculous that educated Muslims are still stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that the prophet of Islam was indeed a mad man.

    Throughout the centuries, Muslims have invested enormous amounts of time and energy trying to improve, beautify and purify Muhammad’s religion. Yet despite all of their efforts, Islam has failed Muslims horribly. In the end, the cruel injustice of Sharia law is the bitter fruit that Islam has historically produced over and over again the devout and obedient followers of Muhammad. Muslims always end up killing each other and trying to conquer others.


    July 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  4. Salam

    Krishna commands you to balance the truth and goodness with falsehood and evil? Is this the balance your looking for – a caste balance that condemnds people to be untouchable while others live lavishly on this injustice. I am sorry but the one true God of humanity encourages goodness and always seeing the best in people and to remain positive and never have any hatred – even in war!

    The amazing and great wives of the Prophet all represented different facets of human society. Khadija was a successful bussinesswoman who was intrigued by Mohammad's character and was forever in his heart. Aisha was 9 years old and she marriaed was done after she entered puberty and was mature mentally – she would grow up to be an intellectual giant amongst the Muslims. Likewise this practise was readily accepted in the Arab culture at the time as his worst enemies would have used it against him if it was a problem!

    Rather than have so much hatred/negativity in your heart, atleast have love and positivity towards humans for nothing other than they are your siblings in humanity.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  5. Salam

    Mahatma Gandhi, statement published in “Young India”, 1924:

    “I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind… I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.”

    July 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  6. meranaam

    test-why not

    July 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  7. Salam

    This problem is when ignorant people are manipulated by others to resort to violence first (using the verses of war in their defense and forgetting the thousands of verses on righteousness and improving ourselves and helping – and this is evidienced by the barbarity, chaos, KILLING OF INNOCENCE! None of this is sanctioned in the verses of war which relate specifically to the pagan Arabs and the conduct of the Muslims towards them in war. Despite all of the suffering and oppression they gave to the Muslims the Muslims returned and peacefully conquered Mecca and forgave the biggest criminals in history.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:47 am |
    • Reality

      Readers will have heard apologists for the Koran acknowledge that, yes, there are war verses in the Koran, but only a few. Every Muslim apologist hastens to add that the Koran’s sparse number of war verses relate to just a few unavoidable military crises in Islam’s early history. They assure us that no war verse was ever intended to serve as a model inciting Muslims in general to hostility against resistant non-Muslims in all ages.

      What is the truth of the matter?

      In fact, there are at least 109 identifiable war verses in the Koran. One out of every 55 verses in the Koran is a war verse. War verses are scattered throughout Mohammed’s chapters like blood splatter at a crime scene. I will demonstrate from Mohammed’s own words that he leaves readers in no doubt—he obviously intended his war verses to arouse Muslims to compel the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam, even by violence if necessary. Failing their conversion, Mohammed ordained that non-Muslims be killed, enslaved or—provided Islam is in full political control—heavily taxed for the advancement of Islam in perpetuity!- from the Secrets of the Koran

      July 22, 2010 at 7:53 am |
    • Salam

      Reality I ask you to get in touch w/ reality. I am not an apologist for the Quran. By your own logic only less that <2% of the Quran discusses Muslim conduct in war againstthose who cause corruption, oppression, and have taken rights that do not belong to them.

      What about the rest of the 98% of the Quran that Muslims ALSO live by. I take the entire Quran and its principles that war is justice and peace is excellence/beautification (ihsan). God says in the Quran, "The world is built upon justice
      and ihsan (beauty such as forgiveness, peace, love, mercy). But it is ihsan that keeps the world going for if only justice the world would have been destroyed a long time ago." Everything commits injustice and while seeking justice is the victims right – mercy, forgiveness, and love are the higher options!
      Your bias is seethingly apparent when you claim to hate something and justify your beliefs picking and choosing what you will – the only REALITY you represent is the ignorance and superiority complex of the majority of people who live in relative luxury while the rest of the world suffers.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • Reality

      Salem, You forgot to note the koranic passages that subjugate women, the passages the rely on the Gabriel myth (100%) and the submission passages. Stop and think Salem, you have been Bred, Born and Brainwashed in the biggest con ever pulled on humankind. The second biggest con? The resurrection of Jesus!!!

      July 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  8. Toby

    Islam is a totalitarian ideology (not unlike Christianity) and seeks to either convert the infidel to their vile religion or kill us. This is mandated in the Koran, hadith, and by the sadistic mullahs on a daily basis. To allow this to occur under the banner of tolerance is to sign your own death warrant.

    July 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • Salam

      Have you even read the Quran or hadith or has our society become so lazy and ignorant that we just go by what we hear and think? The Quran preaches justice and excellence/beautification of one's action and that is the basis of everything. I challenge you to find any other faith that truly believes and understands monotheism like Islam – we all claim to believe in One God but is this based on faith or actual knowledge? God is not a mystery in Islam and it is everyone's duty to find the truth in their life!

      July 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
    • Reality

      Salem, Have you read the koran? Apparently not from your commentary. Some passages for your perusal:

      Their Al Qaeda handlers had instructed them to meditate on al-Tawba and Anfal, two lengthy suras from the Koran, the holy scripture of Islam. The passages make for harrowing reading. God promises to "cast terror into the hearts of those who are bent on denying the truth; strike, then, their necks!" (Koran 8.12). God instructs his Muslim followers to kill unbelievers, to capture them, to ambush them (Koran 9.5). Everything contributes to advancing the holy goal: "Strike terror into God's enemies, and your enemies" (Koran 8.60). Perhaps in their final moments, the hijackers took refuge in these words, in which God lauds acts of terror and massacre.

      On a much lesser scale, others have used the words of the Koran to sanction violence. Even in cases of domestic violence and honor killing, perpetrators can find passages that seem to justify brutal acts (Koran 4.34

      July 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Salam

      Are you seriously asking me that question? Each time I read the Quran the better I become as a human being. Rather than quote a few verses or passages out of the thousands of verses of the Quran ask yourself – are 1.6 billion people really violent? In Islam war is a final resort and a means to defend justice but God follows the verses with fightng saying that peace and forgiveness is better.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:41 am |
    • Reality

      Just one of the thousands of examples of koranic passage-driven. Islamic violence that occurs 24/7:

      The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,488, killed in non-combat missions, 927, 96,845 – 105,596 Iraqi civilians killed.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  9. Annie

    Let them build their mosque. This is America, a melting pot of cultures and religions. These people live amoungst us regardless. Let them practice their religion with no fear of persecution or bias. WE

    July 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  10. Enoch

    "opponents of the mosque fear it could turn the community of 105,000 into a haven for Islamic extremists." This sounds like,

    "If you don't give us what we want we will become terrorists". A new-old tactic to instigate fear amongst gullible Westerners

    July 21, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  11. Reality

    It is all about spouting more vitriol in yet another mosque by yet another imam stuck in the dark age myths of some mythical angel "giving" a warmongering, womanizing (11 wives) Arab named Mohammed directions on how to dominate the world in the name of Allah. None of these dens of horror should be allowed

    July 20, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
    • Salam

      A man – born an orphan, of the highest character, not knowing how to read/write – comes to a barbaric, backwards people who worship idols and tells them to leave their ignorance and worship One God – Lord of Adam, Abraham, Ishmael (his forefather) and Moses, and Jesus – and called the people to prayer and almsgiving, take care of the orphans, promote good, defend the weak, and fight oppression!

      July 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • Salam

      All the Mohammad did was simply preach monotheism – true and simple Monotheism. Might I challenge you to open your mind and go beyond your biases. Why do you hate Islam so much when its basis is love of God, and respect for all of his creation.

      July 21, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.