USA: Christians & Muslims join to speak against gambling

Source: mercurynews.com

Mark Tumney, a senior pastor at Christ Community Church of Milpitas and Zaki Agha of Islam Ahmadiyya Movement Inc. in Milpitas, agreed that religion strictly prohibits gambling.

Senior Pastor Mark Tumney of Christ Community Church of Milpitas (rear) leads a coalition of Protestant pastors and Muslim representatives in prayer before an Oct. 16 press conference held in opposition to Measure E, which calls for Bay 101 Casino to relocate from San Jose to Milpitas. Photo by Raymond Rodriguez ( Photo by Raymond Rodriguez )

TOGETHER AGAINST GAMBLING: Senior Pastor Mark Tumney of Christ Community Church of Milpitas (rear) leads a coalition of Protestant pastors and Muslim representatives in prayer before an Oct. 16 press conference held in opposition to Measure E, which calls for Bay 101 Casino to relocate from San Jose to Milpitas. Photo by Raymond Rodriguez ( Photo by Raymond Rodriguez )

Milpitas religious leaders gathered last week to convince voters not to allow a card room in town, while Bay 101 Casino representatives after the press conference claimed card rooms can actually reduce crime in some communities and expand city services — without raising taxes.

During a nearly hour-long Oct. 16 press conference inside Milpitas Public Library’s auditorium, about 30 people gathered as two pastors, a representative of the Muslim faith and the daughter of a gambling addict urged a no vote on Measure E. The Milpitas measure will ask voters in the Nov. 4 General Election to allow San Jose’s Bay 101 Casino to relocate to Milpitas and adopt a 10.5-percent card room tax that will result in increasing the number of card tables from 49 to more than 100, raise approximately $8.4 million in annual general fund revenue to the city, and possibly gross $84-million each year for the card room operator.

“Today’s conference is the first organized community leadership statement against Bay 101 coming to Milpitas,” said Ken Reed, a member of Milpitas Voters Against E, the group opposed to the card room. “Representatives here today represent a coalition of Milpitas community leaders and they want to tell you why they are personally opposed to the casino moving from San Jose to Milpitas.”

Mark Tumney, a senior pastor at Christ Community Church of Milpitas, began by saying he is a religious leader, not a politician.

“I just want to present an angle that you may not normally hear,” Tumney said. “So I ask this question, why would God be …read more at mercurynews.com

Zaki Agha, a public relations director of Islam Ahmadiyya Movement Inc. in Milpitas, said Islam strictly prohibits gambling.

“We are speaking to our congregants and we are strongly advocating to vote against Measure E,” Agha said. —… Gambling is a serious vice that contributes greatly to the breakdown of the individual, the family and the community.”

Agha called gambling “a black hole of economic productivity.”

“In this case the City of Milpitas may be attracted by the prospect of the casino creating jobs and providing tax revenues,” he said. “However, restaurants and entertainment venues will lose patrons, personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures will jump and the costs for police and related services will soar. So this is going to have a net negative impact on the tax revenue for Milpitas … so their expenses are going to increase.”

“Sue,” the pseudonym of a Milpitas woman who declined to give her real name, claimed her childhood while growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown was scarred by her father’s unchecked gambling addiction.

“This is not fiction, not a fairy tale, because there is no happy ending …read more at mercurynews.com

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