In the end, the people trying to stop the construction of a mosque in Temecula, California were vastly outnumbered by the crowd welcoming the growth of the Muslim community in Riverside County. Last week, we told you about the plan by some conservatives opposed to the construction of the new mosque to show up over the weekend outside the Temecula-area Muslim group's current digs to tell those inside they weren't welcome. To prove the point, the group planned to bring dogs -- which one protester characterized as pretty much the Muslim's mortal enemy, saying that Muslims "hate dogs."
First, the scene on the ground at Friday's protest. As the Los Angeles Timesreported, "a small group of protesters took over a patch of grass across from the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley," but they were "greatly outnumbered by supporters from area churches who were there to support the Islamic Center." Overall, the paper reported, the opposition was "vocal but relatively tame."
The anti-mosque group numbered at "about 20," according to the Press-Enterprise. Other local press reported that the group carried signs with messages like "Muslims Danced with Joy on 9/11," and "No Allah's Law Here." The counter-protesters, on the other hand, "wore white shirts in solidarity" with the Muslims and carried signs reading "Leave These American Citizens Alone."
The two groups clashed verbally, though police on the ground kept things civil. Meanwhile, as the Southwest Riverside News Networkreported, the Muslims actually there to worship "ignored the protesters but smiled to acknowledge the supporters."
Their plans to use dogs to scare the Muslims out of Temecula dashed, the protesters found themselves on the outside looking in. The Valley News reported that Diana Serafin, the self-described tea partier who spoke with me about the protest and helped to promote it online, wouldn't return email or phone messages as the controversy built. Any mention of the protest disappeared from her website as the event drew near. That might be because Serafin and her compatriots found themselves running out of friends.
And yet the Teabaggers complain when people say that their movement has racist elements!
The leader of the local Republican Party distanced himself from the protest in the Valley News. "In every group you get an element, we get an element, I mean in the Republican Party, that are really, super radicals and we say, 'Ok, well, you can't be a part of it because you're a racist,'" he told the paper. "So there's these groups and sometimes you can't control them, they're inside the church, club, mosque or the synagogue that are underground, you don't even know they're there."
The Temecula area Tea Party Patriots had a similar response, strongly condemning the protest in a statement published by the paper. "The organizers of the Menifee, Hemet, Murrieta and Temecula Tea Parties wish to emphatically state that they are not involved in organizing any planned Mosque protest, but that they would strongly condemn the use of dogs to harass anybody, anywhere," they wrote.
And this response by the Teabaggers is all that the NAACP, or anyone else for that matter, has asked them to do: disavow that element within their ranks.
Of course, certain not-so-Breit folks think the NAACP is racist for their opposition to the Teabag movement.