In Pittburgh, a Turkish group, pious but peaceful, decides to rethink its plans for an Islamic centre after an angry public hearing. In Clitheroe, a town in northern England, a plan to turn an ex-church into a mosque wins planning approval after seven failed bids. In Austria a far-rightist, J_rg Haider, grabs headlines by proposing that no mosques or minarets should be built in the province of Carinthia, where he is governor. In Memphis, Tennessee, Muslims manage to build a large cemetery despite local objections to their burial customs. On the face of it, there is something similar about all these vignettes of inter-faith politics in the Western world. They all illustrate the strong emotions, and opportunistic electoral games, that are surfacing in many countries as Muslim minorities, increasingly prosperous and confident, aspire to build more mosques and other communal buildings.
A campaign by Muslim activists against Wachovia Corp. to protest the unexplained closing of bank accounts belonging to a Herndon-based Muslim charity is on hold pending an investigation by the bank. Any actions against the North Carolina-based bank, which has branches on the East Coast and in Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee, could include protests and boycotts, the activists said. That depends on what it ends up doing and saying.