Residents use pig races to deter building of mosque
(11/29/06 - KTRK/KATY, TX) (KTRK) -- There's an awful lot of exciting news when you round the corner on Baker Road. One of two big yellow signs announces a new neighbor is coming soon.
K.I.A., that's the Katy Islamic Association, plan to build a mosque here."It's not an appropriate place to have a mosque or church," said resident Barbara Simpson. It isn't going over real well. "As a house of worship, they shouldn't be disturbing the peace and tranquility of 15 homes," said resident John Wetmore. Neighbors tell us they're concerned about traffic and drainage and a little fear of the unknown. Some of the homeowners even offered to buy the land back for more than a million dollars. The K.I.A. doesn't seem very interested in the offers. "We're not going anywhere," said Katy Islamic Association member Alvi Muzfar. So it seems the community at the end of Baker Road has a pretty good fight. But this fight has gone much farther than many between two neighbors. You see in these fights, sometimes neighbors throw mud at one another. In this instance, they're wallowing in it. Craig Baker owns pigs. He's the guy behind the second big yellow sign on Baker Road. That's the one announcing Friday night pig races. "What does it matter, I can do whatever I want with my land right," asked landowner Craig Baker. Sure can. But aren't pigs on the property line racing on a Friday night a little offensive to a Muslim neighbor? "The meat of a pig is prohibited in the religion of Islam," said Katy Islamic Association member Youssof Allam. "It's looked upon as a dirty creature." Yeah, there's that and also that Friday night is a Muslim holy day. "That is definitely a slap in the face," said Allam.. Now before you go thinking Craig Baker is unfair, or full of hate, or somehow racist, hear him out. Baker has long roots here. His family named the road and when the new neighbors moved in, he tells us, they asked him to move out. "Basically that I should package up my family and my business and find a place elsewhere," said Baker. "That's ridiculous, they just bought the place one week prior and he's telling me I should think about leaving."
That new owners deny they ever said anything like that, but Baker isn't budging.Baker admits the pigs are a message he is not leaving. The 11-acre property is sandwiched between a pricey subdivision and Craig Baker's business. K.I.A. eventually plans to build a mosque, a gym and a school there. There's no date for the groundbreaking ceremonies, or the first pig race.
(Copyright © 2006, KTRK-TV)
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