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home : news : north central illinois   April 29, 2016

5/25/2013 5:00:00 AM
Different views on Islam reflected in Princeton

Dave Beck addresses a crowd of 42 people about the “Muslim Threat” during a Thursday meeting for the We the People Tea Party of Bureau County.NewTribune photo/Lee Strubinger
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Dave Beck addresses a crowd of 42 people about the “Muslim Threat” during a Thursday meeting for the We the People Tea Party of Bureau County.
NewTribune photo/Lee Strubinger
Lee Strubinger
Princeton Bureau Chief

PRINCETON — This week, two separate and unrelated entities provided different snapshots of what seems to be a relatively unknown subject in the Illinois Valley region — Muslim culture.

* * *
Princeton Public Library received a collection of 25 books and three documentary films as part of a multicultural initiative by National Endowment for the Humanities called “Muslim Journeys,” which is on display and available for checkout.
The library is one of 953 in the country to receive the collection. The book and documentary collection is aimed at bridging a disconnect between cultures, including American stories, history, literature, faith and points of view.
“The Bookshelf selections were chosen with a view to familiarizing the American public with Islam and the cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world,” said Ron McCutchan, programs and marketing coordinator for PPL. “It is intended to address both the need and the desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.”
Tuesday evening, the library showed the documentary “Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World.” The 90-minute documentary centered beauty in the architecture of mosques, Arabic calligraphy and utility items like vases and tables. Princeton Public Library Board president Paul Ernst said he enjoyed the documentary and said it is important to incorporate several aspects of culture in the community.
“Libraries should expose people to all types of ideas,” Ernst said. “Our culture (in America) is varied, and even in a community like this, (culture) is varied.”
McCutchan said the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf meshes well with the theme of the library’s upcoming summer reading program. This year’s theme, developed by iRead (Illinois Reading Enrichment and Development program) will be “Have Book – Will Travel.”
“The Bookshelf, which includes a graphic novel and several books on the arts, will take readers to new places, and a few of the adult programs for summer reading will relate to ‘Muslim Journeys.’”
Also, the library has Peru native Omer Izgi, originally from Turkey, scheduled to play the traditional Turkish lute at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 4 in the library.
“Muslim Journeys” will be on display for the rest of the year. The library keeps the books that were given.
“The collection brings in reliable information about the Muslim culture,” McCutchan said. “It offers good talking points for the community.”

* * *
On Thursday night in a building on Backbone Road, the We The People Tea Party of Bureau County, a grassroots and donation-only group, held a meeting aimed at “addressing the Muslim threat and how it affects our lives.” Approximately 42 people were in attendance.
Guest speaker for the evening was Dave Beck, a gospel preacher for the Church of Christ in Princeton. Beck has been studying the Quran for several years and has been interested in the differences between Christianity and Islam.
His speech centered around the intention to draw attention to the “fact that we are truly under a threat.” His opening lines said that it may be faulty logic to think that threats are only prevalent in big metropolitan areas like New York or Chicago.
“In rural America, I think we need to understand we are in danger too,” Beck said. “(The Boston Marathon) was just a target of convenience... It could have easily just have been the Pioneer Day Parade here.”
Beck said Muslims are a threat to rural Illinois, and he went on to address the reasons that cause the threatening behavior. He said it is a religion that is bent toward violence, and that it is fundamental Islamists that have caused it.
“We need to realize that we are very vulnerable. Because of this jihad, a holy-war against Christians and Jews, they believe that they are duty-bound to kill us, I hope I’m wrong but it is possible based upon what they have done in other places, that they can just call for an attack at say 2 o’clock Thursday morning next week and then every Muslim to rise up and kill all the Americans around them,” Beck said. “There’s no way that our police department or our military could handle that.”
The mission statement for We the People Tea Party is to “attract, educate, organize and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with three core values, constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility and free market.”

Lee Strubinger can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or at

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, May 25, 2013
Article comment by: ronwood61

This article is very interesting in that the Princeton Library is showing Islam from a factual viewpoint while the Tea Party speaker is taking his own personal bias opinion and trying to present it as factual. I now know one church in Princeton I will never attend and am also disappointed that there are 42 people in our region who actually listen to this bigotry. If the mission statement of the Tea Party includes the word "educate", our local chapter is not following their mission very well unless they have also gone to the library to read what is displayed there on this subject.

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