August 9th, 2013
02:00 PM ET

'No Muslim parking' signs spark outrage

From CNN affiliate KPRC

Houston - New signs posted outside a mosque in Spring Branch, Texas, have sparked outrage from Muslims nationwide.

In black letters, the signs reads, "No Muslim parking in the Westview Shopping Center. Your car will be towed."

The posters lined the street near the El Farouq Mosque, where Muslims heading to worship services said they were were offended.

"I feel sorry for the person who wrote it," Ahmed Hassan told CNN affiliate KPRC. "This is what comes to mind because obviously he has a lot of hate."

"I'm very shocked because we do live in a society that's supposed to be very accepting, and this is what we all preach," said Yara Aboshady. "That we all have the freedom of religion."

The parking signs were mentioned Thursday in an newsletter from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslims civil rights group.

In recent years, Muslims have faced protests nationwide when trying to construct new mosques, including in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where mosque opponents have filed an appeal with the state supreme court to block construction.

The El Farouq Mosque sits across the street from the shopping center. Store employees did not want to go on camera for KPCR but did say they get angry when mosque members park in their lot, taking up spots meant for customers.

With the Muslim monthlong fast for the holy month of Ramadan ending and a crowd expected at the mosque, the signs anonymously appeared.

No shopping center employees would admit to posting the signs. One worker said the shopping center owner, Steve Kwon, posted the signs. He denied it.

"I did not put up the signs," Kwon said. After speaking with KPRC, Kwon removed the signs.

Aboshady wondered about the sign writer's true motive.

"It could be no parking for the sake of patrons that come in," Aboshady said. "Or it really could be a prejudice and just a mean thing to say."

She and others still find the signs insensitive and offensive.

"It's really offensive and it's hateful," Hassan said.

The shopping center owner says he will call a tow company to try to get all of the cars that shouldn't be parked there out. He also says he'll be checking the property to make there are no more of the offensive parking signs.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Discrimination • Eid al-Fitr • Holidays • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • Ramadan • United States

soundoff (1,063 Responses)
  1. towtruck

    I believe every vehicle registered to a muslim should have a fluorescent orange license plate for safety, so people know there could be a bomb in it and stay away.

    August 28, 2013 at 3:29 am |
    • jayson

      hey towtruck i guess thy forgets the Atlanta olympics bombing THAT WAS A WHITE DUDE or the federal building in Oklahoma

      August 28, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  2. Chaifreak

    I actually live down the street from the mosque and it is a pain to just drive by it on a Friday. They walk out in front of traffic like they own the place. If they want to be more accepted here they need to follow the rules here.....if you don't follow the rules in the Middle East you get your head cut off, here you get your car towed....really??
    They are very rude when the are trying rush in for prayer time. Nothing is wrong with the sign, trust me if it said Christians no parking NO ONE would be offended. Muslims are taught to hate anyone who is not a muslim, when are you going to understand that AMERICA??!!!??!!

    August 27, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • jsf12

      The synagog I attend has too small a parking lot. It is a quarter mile from a church which also has too small a parking lot. On many occasions the sidewalk between the two is filled with illegally parked cars from the overflow of the church parking lot. On fewer occasions (but still more than a few times per year) the same sidewalk is filled with illegally parked cars from the synagog parking overflow. I'm glad the police choose to ignore all those violations, because there is really no other place for all those people to park. If it were a Mosque instead, I don't think that would change my opinion.
      As for crowds leaving a religious service and walking out into traffic assuming the cars will stop. I have seen many times when driving by a church. That just seems to be the way people act in this country. Since it is common for churches, you are being biased to object to the same behavior at a Mosque.

      August 28, 2013 at 9:46 am |
      • Lisa W

        if you really attended a synagogue you would know how to spell it.

        August 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • JayJ7

      This is a typical third world culture, where if you are not a friend or family you do not exist in their minds. They have no sense of civic responsibility if they do not know you. The problem is especially bad in the Muslim community because many have no intent on ever changing from the culture that turned their homeland into a nightmare.

      August 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • MZ Muslim

      Chaifreak the more you speak, the stupider you sound. When has there EVER been a No Christians Parking sign anywhere in America? Don't make stuff up, and yes there would be outrage because it's idiotic.

      August 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  3. SHernan

    Why couldn't the sign say "Mosque Parking prohibited". This way it wouldn't single out a single faith.

    August 27, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  4. John

    Outrage. What is outrage is the special previlege Muslim drivers get in the part of my street in Queens, NY where there is a 'No Parking Anytime' sign yet these muslim drivers display an NYC letter (mostly photocopied) that they have the permit to be allowed to park in such a place. The gall of these law breakers! Putting a sign specific to these group of illegal parkers should be done in all NYC street. I have travelled the middle east and have seen that most muslim people take advantage of others especially non muslim - that is even encourage in the Koran, as it depict that non-muslim are not to be considered human beings but in the same class as animals!

    August 27, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Jon

      U must live in my neighborhood of flushing have that problem here too

      August 28, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • MZ Muslim

      Wow... you quite full of bull-crap, aren't ya?

      August 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • JayJ7

        "Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe. (8:55) Koran

        August 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Gee, the christian faith teaches similar. All of it is wacko!

          August 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  5. ug

    What outrage? I'm not outraged...I think it is a good idea...

    August 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  6. pained 1

    let's leave the west for Christianity.Go EAST young muslim.

    August 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • MZ Muslim

      Let's leave America to the "NATIVE AMERICANS" You should go back to Europe because your forefathers, Lied, Killed, Maimed, and Conned their way to America. My parents came legally... just sayin...

      August 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • John N. Seattle, WA

      No, let's drive out the Christians as well. Let's leave the West for the Pastafarians!

      August 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
      • jerry


        August 28, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • Lamental Jester

        All hail the flying spagetti monster... may be bless us all with his tasty yummyness

        August 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Marc Atkins

      There's no such thing as god.

      August 28, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Howie

      Let's leave the world for humanism. Grow up and realize that there is no god, there is only man, and we are magnificent!

      August 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  7. rbrucecarter

    That is an extremely large mosque, and it obviously doesn't have enough parking. I've tried to do a test drive on a car from Carmax around the corner, I can tell you cars line every street and the temptation would be strong for mosque attendees to block every single space in nearby shopping centers. I don't know what the answer is – perhaps the mosque should consider a parking garage to accommodate the large number of worshippers. The thing that concerns me here – Christian churches around the country are in the same predicament, and "no church parking" signs are put up all over the place. There is no outrage over "no Christian parking" or "no church parking" – why the outrage over "no moslem parking" or "no mosque parking"? Both create a parking nuisance for nearby businesses, both are caused by rapid growth in worship, yet no moslem parking is a national story. A bit of a double standard to say the least!

    August 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • MZ Muslim

      Really? There was a No Christian Parking somewhere? You just made that up... but I do agree with you. This should not be a national story.

      August 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • SomeGuy

      You answered your own question. If the sign said "No Mosque Parking" it would have been fine. That points explicitly to people using the Mosgue. The fact that it said "No Muslim Parking" points out a group of people, not users of the Mosque. What if a Muslim wants to shop, can they park there?

      You get the point. The sign was well intentioned but poorly executed, and will eventually be replaced by No Mosque Parking signs.... as they should have read in the first place.

      August 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • Tina in Tempe

        Hi Ollie, how about taking it a step further and posting a sign that specifies mall parking only; all others will be towed.

        August 28, 2013 at 8:42 am |
        • baya

          Right on!!!

          August 28, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Sara

      The solution is to put up no mosque parking signs, higher a guard who calls the tow truck and let the mosque figure out the rest. If they need to move to a bigger place with better parking, they move.

      August 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • baya

      Be a "little" smart and respectful here. Nobody posts " NO CHRISTIANS " / " NO MUSLIMS " in this situation. The right thing to post is either the name of the mosque or just mosque.

      August 28, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  8. MZ Muslim

    Ok... I am a Muslim and my son goes to the school that is on the same proeprty as Masjed El Farouq. I think the signs were written incorrectly due to a language barrier, but the sentiments are correct. During the Friday prayers, people have a habit of parking wherever they feel like. I doing so, they are probably causing grief for the business owner there. So, what he means is, "No Mosque parking allowed." or "Parking for patrons of shopping plaza only." He just didn't know how to put it.

    The story does not belong on CNN. My fellow Muslims need to get over it and the shopping center owner needs to have someone else draft his signs for him. I don't condone ANYONE misuing their position as a minority to harass any business owner, or any memeber of the community.Jews, Muslims, Blacks, Gays, everyone trys to play the poor minority card, some more than others, but you wan't be a part of the society if you are going to keep on reminding yourself that you are different from your fellow Americans. I'm not saying that REAL inicidents of hate should not be reported, but this is certainly an innocent mistake.

    August 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Michael White

      Good statement, exactly what I thought when I read the sign - I realized they should have said No Mosque parking, it was immediate because I know that many other places have the same problems. It is like the pool hall I go to, I go there to play in a tournament, but I park next door at the Vet's office, my car will be towed. I mean, granted, it could have been phrased differently, but lets not make a big deal over something this small, really.

      August 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
  9. Quiron

    Why muslims still want to live in the US with the same ideas that in their country ?
    Why the US still accepts muslims from everywhere ?
    Now that there is a great community here, it seems too late to stop it, the ideal of muslim is spread their faith. And their faith is medieval not for this time, women are inferior than men for them.

    August 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      First Amendment baby, that's why they're here.

      August 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Quentin

      First of all millions of people all over the owrld become musim everyday. Secondly it says explicitly in the quran that women and men are equal. third muslims have contributed greatly to the advancemnts in todays society. Al kwarismi created algebra and gave it its name and he was muslim. Fourth im african american the son of the slaves who built this country im thirteen and i have converted to islam. From what ive seen and read so far in the quran the 21 century would do well with this religion. it certainly does have a place in this century and every other century to come.

      August 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
      • ME II

        Does not the Koran also place women lower than men in some parts? e.g. two women witnesses to replace one male.

        August 28, 2013 at 10:50 am |
      • Howie

        Open your eyes. Get an education. All religions are inherently false. There is no god. Religious tracts exist only to instill a control structure so the elites can keep the masses in line. If you want to worship something, look in the mirror. Mankind is the only truly creative force in the universe. If you need a god, it is us.

        August 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm |

    You think education is expensive; Try ignorance.

    August 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Quentin

      Alhamdulilah you speak the truth

      August 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  11. NyteShayde

    I think this was someone's poor grasp of proper English and very little tact. If they were annoyed at the loss of parking spaces for customers they should have written "No mosque parking, this lot is for the use of shopping center patrons only". Would have been a whole lot easier to understand than that.

    August 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Jack ahmed

      agree...but also brothers and sisters use common sense if your own that shopping center and church people from cross the street park they car what you going to say,,,,,,???

      August 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • midwest rail

        Say ? Nothing. The car gets towed, end of story.

        August 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  12. Billy

    Great idea!

    August 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  13. ollie

    it is a public safety issue

    August 27, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  14. dylan mahmoud

    Iam muslim park at around the mosque is always has big problem i dont blame mr kwon he has right to speak up ,,,some time we went too far for religius reason ,,iam as muslim resfect everybody opinion..I also like to give advice to brothers and sisters who go to the mosque (el foruuq ) to resfect somebody property (lot)) when park the cars ,,,try not make problem for a people ..make good thing bottom line DO NOT CREATE THE PROBLEMS

    August 27, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Jack ahmed

      @Dylaf them n mahmoud Iam very agree with you majority our fellow muslim they comes from third counrties and most of them they dont care about the rule ..dont park here and still park the car and then get mad ...pls resfect somebody property ..when we go to mosque we have to have clean heart and anger ...

      August 27, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Chris

      This is actually a common problem with many churches. The wording of the signs was insensitive. But I have been at Christian churches with similar parking problems, many times.

      Maybe there is some local lot which is available for use on weekends. Mid-week usage is more difficult, maybe not so bad if meetings are in the evening.

      I hope you can work it out with your neighbors. That would be a good thing for all involved.

      August 27, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  15. Dave

    outrage? Outrage is two WWII veterans being killed by thugs, thats outrage not where the mussies can and can not park

    August 27, 2013 at 7:40 am |
  16. chavesl

    They have the right to their religion, just not to parking which is the owners choice. This is America where you can do stuff like assert you right to choice over what you own and those who don't like it can get screwed.

    August 27, 2013 at 12:42 am |
  17. mrkhrrs

    Muslims are the filth of humanity.

    August 26, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  18. Terr

    Moslums were offended. Big deal. Christians get martyred by them daily. THAT"s offensive!

    August 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  19. MJ

    I'm Muslim, and I really don't give a crap if a retail outlet, in this economy, wants to refuse the business of countless patrons. It's a free country– and a business can do whatever it wants. No skin off my back.

    August 26, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  20. Sixate

    I can't blame the mall. Their employees are tired of cleaning up camel droppings!

    August 26, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
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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.