I’m happy to announce that in the last two weeks not only did we exceed the goal, but also the total number of contributors increased over 40% to over 130. The repairs and upgrades of the house in question that will become the Masjid al Latiff and Interfaith Community Center are ongoing and being covered by both the Shire Free Church and the MALIC Center together. Due to the additional work required, Will has bumped up the goal of his fundraiser to $15,000. While he’ll certainly accept donations in US Dollars, he’s hoping to finish out the fundraiser with cryptocurrencies and become the first mosque in the world to open with half their budget consisting of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Based on our research, it may be the first publicly known bitcoin-accepting mosque in the world. If you know of another, please post in the comments.
Keene’s Bitcoin Community is Front Page News!
“We don’t want to feed the war machine in any way” – Will Coley
Will explained in an interview for Free Keene, that as a peace-oriented religion, using bitcoin is a great way to avoid feeding the violent federal government, since cryptocurrencies decentralize the power of money into the people’s hands. Current bitcoin donations to the fundraiser have gone towards electronics purchases for running live video from the mosque. Soon, bitcoin will be spent on contractors for upcoming improvements to the property. Will describes Keene as a “bitcoin community” and says that he loves how easy it is to spend bitcoin in Keene. (Keene is the as-yet-undisputed number one city in the world for bitcoin-accepting businesses per capita.)
Thus far in the fundraiser Will has received over one bitcoin and some DASH and ether, totaling around $5,000 in cryptocurrencies. Should you wish to give, the bitcoin donation address is 14eFNWDcAhNeT4HPwd7ps2CcAAz7u68ABP
Stay tuned here to Free Keene for more on the MALIC Center’s upcoming launch. There’s no date set at the moment.
Multiple full truckloads of garbage and junk were removed this week, totaling several hundred dollars in dump fees.
It’s been a crazy week, but major progress has been made turning a house that was trashed by its previous “libertarian” tenants into NH’s first full-time mosque. The Masjid al Latiff and Interfaith Community Center (MALIC Center) is Will Coley‘s vision that is becoming a reality, thanks to an interfaith group of people who have over the last week been removing junk, cleaning up a unspeakably disgusting mess, repairing damage to the home, painting, removing trees, and more. Whether Muslim, Christian, Panentheist, or even agnostic or atheist, it’s been awesome to see that the MALIC Center is already creating an interfaith community despite not having officially opened its doors.
When Will, who will be the future mosque’s Imam and caretaker, approached the Shire Free Church about property availability in Keene for a mosque, I’d have been excited about just that opportunity to help him with that idea, but his vision was much bigger than that. In addition to its full-time mosque function, as an interfaith community center, the MALIC Center will also be usable by other smaller area religions looking for a house of worship, like the Quakers. Plus, Will plans to operate a homeless warming center in the colder months.
As the Shire Free Church is an interfaith peace church, the MALIC Center vision dovetails perfectly with the mission of the Church. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to assist with this by both donating the property in question on behalf of the Church and helping clean it up. Thankfully we don’t have to do it all alone, as it’s a big job. We’ve had multiple libertarian community members from across the state come to help us including a mayoral candidate in Keene, Bob Call who joined us early on to help haul out the initial junk and trash, and Libertarian candidate for governor in NH for 2018, Jilletta Jarvis who today was helping scrub the floors.
The interfaith cleanup crew has included Christians working alongside Muslims, and others!
In order to assist further, the Shire Free Church is going to match donations from now until the $11,000 goal is reached! The fundraiser as of now has $5,256 raised by 93 contributors. Only six days remain. If you donate $10, the Church will double it to $20. If you donate $50, the Church will double that to $100, and so on. Please take a moment and give here at Launchgood. (Bitcoin and Litecoin donation QR codes are on the Launchgood page too!)
Ernest Hancock and Will Coley Broadcasting from Shirefest 2017
“America’s Favorite Redneck Muslim”, Will Coley has made a major announcement! The host of Muslim radio show, “Call to Freedom“, and his family are moving from their longtime home of Tennessee to beautiful Keene, New Hampshire and they’ll be opening a full-time mosque in property donated by the Shire Free Church! Fundraising has begun over at Muslim fundraising site Launchgood with an $11,000 target, the Coleys have already raised over $2,000 with just over two weeks to go.
He’s calling it the Masjid al Latiff and Interfaith Community Center, (aka the MALIC Center) and on his fundraiser page says it will be the first house of worship of its kind in all of New Hampshire! Though it looks like Concord’s Muslim community is also making similar plans, Keene’s seems on target to open its doors sooner than Concord. As one of the founding ministers of the Shire Free Church, I’m elated to be able to dedicate our property to this historic and worthy religious purpose. If it were just a full-time mosque, that would dovetail perfectly with our interfaith church’s mission to foster peace, but Will has promised that the space will also be usable at times by other area religions of peace, such as the Quakers.
In addition to the goal of creating a Muslim community in Southwestern New Hampshire, Will is also planning to conduct outreach to the community and helping dispel the pervasive myths that many Americans mistakenly hold about Islam. When I was in jail for civil disobedience I took the time to read the entire Quran and studied with a Muslim who was in my cell block. I’ve been grateful for Will’s many appearances on my talk radio program, Free Talk Live. We’ve had him on for multiple segments of “Ask a Muslim”, where he fields all kinds of questions from listeners who know little about Islam. I’m excited to have him on more often live in-studio.
Will Coley Conducting his Ramadan Dawah at Porcfest
Many who have attended the Porcupine Freedom Festival will recognize Will as the generous man who each year has come up from Tennessee to serve food to the festival-goers during Ramadan as his “dawah” (Muslim outreach). In addition to his generosity, he’s a talented speaker and is currently completing his Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic studies training in the Maliki school.
It’s truly an honor to assist in this new addition to the Keene community that will hopefully attract more Muslims to the area and bring a new level of understanding about Islam to the community at large.
This Summer, the board of the Shire Free Church Monadnock, which owns the property at River and Leverett opted to end the activist experiment and we parted ways with Rich Paul, converting the property back into a home for rent. It quickly filled up with liberty-friendly New Hampshire natives. Plus liberty-minded folks now occupy another house on the street as the Free Streets Project has officially begun in Keene and Manchester.
While some have mourned the loss of the historic center for Keene activism, ultimately the movement in Keene is now more diverse, with even more regular real-life activist meetups than has ever happened in Keene:
Social Sundays – The longest running social gathering of liberty-minded folks in New Hampshire continues at 6pm each Sunday at Local Burger (they accept bitcoin!)
Taco Tuesdays – This super-popular gathering was created in Spring of 2016 and happens each Tuesday at Mi Jalisco at 7pm.
Bacon Breakfast Buffet – Early risers meet up at Keene State College’s Zorn Dining Commons at 8:30am every Wednesday when school is in session.
The Keene Bitcoin Network “Floating Meetup” Visits Lindy’s Diner
Keene Bitcoin Network – Twice monthly real-life meetups happen on the first Sunday of every month before Social Sundays and also on the 21st of each month at 3pm at a new location each month.
In addition to the regular meetups, Keene activists are pushing forward in the area of online organization. While many libertarians are stuck on Facebook and are suffering from it, Keene activists have been successfully using Telegram and two-way radios for years for instant communications, plus we’re now experimenting with Trello for project organization. (more…)
I spent most of an hour with Rich Girard on his morning show, “Girard at Large” at WLMW-FM in Manchester, bright-and-early at 6:20am on Friday. It was my first time on his show and we had a good discussion about secession, the state and religion, drug prohibition, the death penalty, and abortion. Thanks to Rich and his crew for the opportunity! Here are the show segments:
Peaceful Assembly Church Burning in Grafton, NH – Photo Courtesy Peter Bosse
In early January of this year, Peaceful Assembly Church pastor John Connell died inside his church as it somehow set ablaze. The alleged cause of the fire has still not been publicly announced by the fire marshal, several months later. Speculation on the cause of the fire ranges from accident to self-immolation to murder. Given that the town of Grafton was planning to steal the property via tax sale just days after the church caught fire, it’s possible that Connell set the fire himself so as to prevent the town from getting anything of value out of the coming theft.
Regardless of the origins of the flames, the latest results were unexpected. The Valley News reported yesterday that Grafton has come to an agreement with the Peaceful Assembly Church to give them the tax exemption they have been denying the church for more than half-a-decade!
Under the agreement, the parties agreed that Peaceful Assembly “is a regularly recognized and constituted religious creed and sect” and that the town will abate the full amount of taxes owed on the property at 860 Main St., also known as Route 4.
In return, Peaceful Assembly Church board members agreed to make the building weather tight by December; shingle the roof and complete all exterior work except windows by December 2017; and complete all exterior work by December 2019.
Peaceful Assembly Church is the first church in NH founded and run by liberty activists and was a major influence in the formation of the Shire Free Church. This is huge news in favor of religious freedom – it’s a shame the pastor had to die to make the right thing happen.