Muslims take no offense from pig races arcoss from mosque

Houston Chronicle:

A Muslim group said it is no longer offended as Katy resident Craig Baker made good on his promise to stage Friday pig races next door to an 11-acre property the group has purchased to build a mosque.

While members of the Katy Islamic Association attended afternoon prayer services, Baker was busy next door at 1918 Baker Road lining a track for 25 pigs to race on, assembling merchandise to sell to spectators and grilling sausages.

About 100 people showed up for the event in the pouring rain.

A spokesman for the association, Yousef Allam, said members are not upset anymore by Baker's decision to race pigs, a forbidden meat in the Muslim culture, despite a Dec. 1 letter an attorney for the group sent to Baker demanding that he immediately remove the pigs from his own property.

"He knows that Muslims can be emotional, but it does not bother me," Allam said. "I don't care if he races, roasts or slaughters pigs."

Baker, 46, said his intention is not to offend anyone with the races but to make clear that he will not be forced to move or relocate his marble-fabricating shop as he claims a member of the association previously urged him to.

"I am just defending my rights and my property," Baker said. "They totally disrespected me and my family."

A dispute erupted after the Muslim group announced plans in September to build a mosque and community center at 1800 Baker Road, south of Interstate 10 and adjacent to Baker's marble shop.

This photo of the race shows it to be sparsely attended in the pouring rain we have had for the last week. The good news about the rain is that it has almost filled my pond that was dug last summer. It is a deep pond, about 50 feet so it holds a lot of water. I need to get to work on stocking it now.

The Muslims at the mosque are demonstrating a surprising amount of emotional maturity about the races. The tantrum throwers around the world could learn something from this experience.


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