December 31st, 2006

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Mosque plans trigger neighbor's pig races
KATY, Texas (AP) -- A man unhappy with an Islamic association's plans to build a mosque next to his property has staged pig races as a protest during afternoon prayers.

Craig Baker, 46, sold merchandise and grilled sausages Friday for about 100 people who showed up in heavy rain. He insisted he wasn't trying to offend anyone with the pigs, which are forbidden from the Muslim diet.

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

Muslims don't hate pigs, they just don't eat them, said engineer Kamel Fotouh, president of the 500-member Katy Islamic Association in this Houston suburb.

"I don't care if he races, roasts or slaughters pigs," said Yousef Allam, a spokesman for the group.

The dispute began when the association asked Baker to remove his cattle from its newly bought land. The association plans to build a mosque, community center, athletic facilities and a school.

Baker agreed to move his cattle but thought the Muslims also wanted him off the land his family has lived on for more than 100 years.

Earlier this month, Baker conceded that the Muslims probably aren't after his land, but he said he had to go through with the pig races because "I would be like a total idiot if I didn't. I'd be the laughingstock now because I've gone too far."

All the same, Baker plans to continue the weekly pig races until interest dwindles.

The association never meant to imply it wanted Baker to move, Allam said.

"If we somehow communicated that to him, then we apologize," he said.

Resident Susan Canavespe said the pig racing wasn't mean-spirited -- "It's just Texas-spirited."
In other news, there's an Assembly of God church going up across the street. I think we should dress as priests, and put up a giant cross (painted pink) on the front lawn. Everytime someone says Jesus' name, someone in the back revvs up a chainsaw and we all drink a Rusty Nail served by a drag queen slung up as Edina Monsoon. Cowboys wearing chaps and Wranglers with the ass cut out as well as angel wings will be dancing on platforms to remixes of the Brokeback Mountain theme song mashed up with 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going'. For the race portion, a row of priests will be waving Wii game controllers and Snicker's bars at a row of dwarves dressed as altar boys in a 50 yard dash. What am I forgetting?