Civil Disobedience Thanksgiving Held at Keene, NH Mosque Under City Threats

Activists' Civil Disobedience Thanksgiving at the Un-permitted MALIC Center in Keene, NH

Civil Disobedience Thanksgiving at the Un-permitted MALIC Center in Keene, NH

Will Coley, new mover to Keene and imam of the soon-to-open MALIC Center – Keene’s new mosque – recently made headlines over the city’s demand he obey them and ask permission to exercise his right to religion. Here’s the Union Leader story and the NHPR piece about the conflict.

Apparently undeterred by their recent, unsurprising loss at the NH Supreme Court for their attempt to crush the free speech rights of the Robin Hooders for feeding expired parking meters, the City of Keene gang is now trying to crush the right to religion and free assembly.

Will originally made the mistake of trying to ask the city gang’s blessing to install a sign. He should have known that asking for permission to exercise a right never ends well. The answer is almost always no, and fees and hoops galore are demanded by the bureaucrats. Unfortunately, despite telling the city gang that the sign was going up, after consulting with the local Muslims he is serving, they asked him to try to go through the city’s demands for the sign permission slip. So, the sign is not up.

MALIC Center Imam Will Coley Speaks to the Committee

MALIC Center Imam Will Coley Speaks to City Committee About Immigration

However, now that an inch has been given, the city gang is ready to take a mile of obedience, fees, meetings, and paperwork. In a letter addressed to Will by the city’s “Planning Director” Rhett Lamb, Lamb tells Will he’ll need a “change of use” for the building and an “certificate of occupancy” to gather in the structure, neither of which have anything to do with a sign. However, they have everything to do with submitting to a group of strangers who think they have a right to control your life and property.

Will has told me that the local Muslim community may be willing to bend on the sign issue, but not on the right of assembly. No one should ever have to ask permission to exercise their right. A mosque or church is created because we say so, not by asking some officious bureaucrat’s permission. The right to property and to seek happiness is a fundamental right ostensibly protected by the New Hampshire constitution – the very same document the people calling themselves “the City of Keene” supposedly operate underneath. Here’s its Article 2 regarding property:

All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights – among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.

And its Article 5 regarding freedom of religion:

Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his peers on, liberty, or estate, for worshiping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship.

MALIC Center Imam vs City of Keene

MALIC Center Imam Will Coley is Stunned as Bureaucrat Delivers Huge Insult

Despite the thus-far-veiled threats from the city (one bureaucrat, Gary Schneider, tried to act like he didn’t know what would happen if the sign was put up without the permission slip), a group of over a dozen people gathered at the MALIC Center on Thursday where a delicious dinner was served for the volunteers who have been helping clean up and remodel the home which will be opening likely before the end of the year. No “certificate of occupancy” was sought. Just people enjoying each other’s company without asking government permission. Because freedom.

Does the city gang believe they own the property at 659 Marlboro Road? Are they going to issue fines in the hundreds of dollars-per-day range if people choose on their own volition to gather together in an unpermitted, free mosque? How far are the local Muslims willing to go to protect their basic religious liberties from these threats? Will cannot make the decision on his own to roll over and obey or to stand up against the government aggressors. As imam, he has to consider the opinions of the Muslim community first over his own. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this developing situation.

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  1. Godspeed to all of you. Bureaucrats who overstep their bounds and abuse citizens are the scum of the earth. When they exceed and abuse their their powers, they are doing the work of the Devil.

  2. More Ian Bernard creative writing. No one is threatening anyone. It’s a state law regarding the sign. You don’t need a sign to open a mosque. Of course Ian and Will want to be drama queens while blowing the whole situation out of control. Will and Ian are responsible to know all the rules and regs and their arrogance made them think they are above the law and everyone else. You may not like the process but you are not above the law. Instead of acting like idiots and blaming everyone, why don’t you take that energy and work to get the mosque going. Isn’t that the primary goal. Isn’t that the responsibility of Will as a leader. How many of your ridiculous “civil disobedience” got you what you wanted. None.

  3. I forgot to add. When you open your soup kitchen, you will have to go through the department of health for the permits. I suggest you get a jump on that now.

  4. Say Jacks, do you find it easier to noodge when you think about all of the profits you lost out on by not buying bitcoins?

  5. It isn’t a soup kitchen if you are inviting friends and neighbors to share in breaking fast, not engaging in commerce, else everyone is in violation.

  6. Jacks is a frigging idiot.

    You do NOT need state permission to open a Church. If you did, it would be a complete violation of the Separation of Church and State.

    Keep up the good fight, guys. I don’t share your religion, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to practice it, so long as you don’t try to force anybody else to practice it!

  7. This whole process needs to be recorded and turned into a documentary. I’d absolutely watch it. All you up in NH with the skills to get it done do my bidding!

  8. @Drac

    Worth pointing out to Jacks that Bitcoin doesn’t just get support from libertarians but also from the radical left who want to undermine the banking cartel

  9. @Bothica

    I’m not so certain that’s the case, Bothica. Communists certainly seem to hate bitcoins, since they’ve allowed financial transactions to remain completely hidden from the intrusive eyes of government. One need only look at China’s recent ban on them to understand that. Besides Bothica, Jacks’s mind is far too preoccupied with pestering his rivals about their differences in beliefs to care about the benefits consumers like us receive when we have more choices in the currency markets.

  10. Will Freeman – “You do NOT need state permission to open a Church. If you did, it would be a complete violation of the Separation of Church and State”. Yes you do and no it isn’t. You have to go through the IRS to get tax exemptions, and the city and counties have their zoning restrictions. That is why Ian’s fake church never got tax exempt. Since the building is under a LLC, it’s going to be difficult for them.

  11. Michael Lorrey – “It isn’t a soup kitchen if you are inviting friends and neighbors to share in breaking fast, not engaging in commerce, else everyone is in violation” True. If you are offering a meal to friends or neighbors is one thing. Opening it up to the public is another. Even churches have to abide by the Dept. of Health’s rules and regulations.

  12. It seems like a Muslim mosque already has baggage and burdens to being accepted; why add FreeKeene activism on top of it.
    I think the council of smart mature Muslims in the community will give good guidance,.
    I wonder if Ian cares more about butting heads with the man and making headlines than he does about the success of the Mosque.
    I dont know. I hope FK doesnt sink the mosque.

  13. Do Muslims in Keene want to wear the cloak of FreeKeene, also? lol I mean i think its great but ian should chill with the activism stuff and just be a WAAAAY behind the scenes supporter

  14. @Jumping Jacks

    Say Jacks, since you’re so firm on your stance that bureaucrats should possess sole authority over what’s a church or not, then don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, it’s possible those exact same bureaucrats might use such power unsuitably? You know, like possibly to keep people with certain religious beliefs from worshiping privately inside their communities? In what way do you think that would be any different from the government not trying to establish a state-approved religion, Jacks?

  15. Speaking of Robinhooders, where are you guys? You talk so much about how you won over the NH Supreme Court to plunk meters, where are you guys at? I thought it was important to you, helping the citizens of Keene? You didn’t lose your vision did you? Not so relevant anymore, eh?

  16. Say, Ernesto darling, how are our dear friends the Schmidts doing these days? You know it’s a right shame our good friends over at Stop Free Keene couldn’t be bothered to hold a benefit or two for them so they wouldn’t have to lose their home, now isn’t it?

  17. In all seriousness, are you guys still saving people from having to pay parking violations? I mean after all wouldn’t you keep Robinhooding if it was for the greater good, and was successful? Dont forget it did give you guys your 15 minutes of fame on the Colbert Report.

  18. Ernest – There aren’t enough freekeeners to play Robin Hood. Most of them have moved away. Besides, parking kiosks are coming and “robin hooding” will be defunct. Just like copblock.

  19. Parking kiosks do work very well all over the United States. Especially in Chicago. Having kiosks would take away the ability to save people from parking violations. You would think that maybe Free Keene could go over to Brattleboro Vermont, where they have coin meters and help innocent victims get out of getting parking tickets. So where is the chivalry from Free Keene?

  20. But I am being serious, Ernesto my love. After all, isn’t Stop Free Keene bigger than the rest of us? It just breaks my heart that our dear friends over there couldn’t be bothered to spend even one minute away from their gallant Facebook activism to help the Schmidts keep their house. I mean what is this world coming to, hmm?

  21. The article does not say whether the property for the center is taxable or tax-exempt. Communities often object when residential or commercial real estate is removed from the tax rolls. Local governments play political games with signs. The Chicago Republican Party put a sign on the building it leases. Another tenant objected and the city said it decides any sign on a building. The party Chairman was ordered personally to remove the sign or face escalating fines in the thousands of dollars.

Care to comment?