(ABNA24.com) On one Friday in late June, Arafat Afaneh greeted the two older white men warmly and invited them into the Islamic Center of Savannah, where he works as the facility manager.One man said he was Muslim. The other man, he said, was his cousin, who wanted to learn more about Islam.
“We welcome anybody,” said Afaneh. “This is a place of worship.” He gave them a copy of the Quran and brochures on Islam and invited them to stay and listen to the Friday sermon. Something nagged at Afaneh, though, because “they didn’t look happy. They were not smiley or looked like people who were coming to a place to learn. I felt there was something not right about them.”
His suspicions were right and helped prompt a statewide warning. Afaneh said he found out through the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that the men were alleged members of anti-Muslim groups Sharia Crime Stoppers and The United West, both labeled hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. After their visits, they were “talking trash about the Islamic center. They said it was disgusting.”
One of the men wrote about his visit to the Savannah mosque in a report published on
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