Members of Overpasses for America and the Georgia Security Force militia protest outside of Kennesaw City Hall in Kennesaw, Georgia, Monday, Dec. 15.
KENNESAW, Georgia – The Kennesaw City Council has approved a land-use permit for a new mosque less than two weeks after it had denied the permit citing traffic and parking concerns.
The council voted 4-1 to deny the permit on Dec. 3, but after legal threats from the Suffa Dawat Center, the council reversed its earlier decision with a 5-0 vote Monday. The vote was taken without discussion as six police officers lined the walls of the council chambers and another contingent of officers patrolled outside where about 25 protesters from Overpasses for America and the Georgia Security Force militia held American flags and signs saying “No Mosque!” and “Ban Islam!”
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews told WSB-TV in Atlanta that the council changed its vote due to “legal advice from our own city attorney, not based on input received from the public or anybody else.”
Mosque members were pleased with Monday’s outcome.
“I think we have achieved success for the whole community including those who oppose us,” Khalid Hashmi told WSB.
“The Bible says love thy neighbor. Our religion teaches love your neighbor,” said Samir Malik.
But the protesters outside weren’t buying it.
Capt. Linc Doberman with the Georgia Security Force told WND he believes Islam is more than just a religion and should be treated as such.
“The imams in the mosques are all striving towards the establishment of a caliphate and you can’t have a constitutional republic along with a caliphate,” he said. “So you can allow it to continue creeping in, until you feel the deep, red welts of domination.”
One of the protesters yelled at the Muslims as they filed out of city hall saying, “We will never respect Islam! We will never convert!”
Suffa Dawat applied for the permit to lease a space in a retail shopping plaza that is zoned for commercial use. A residential neighborhood sits directly behind the strip shopping center, and neighbors were not happy about the prospect of hearing the Friday call to prayer blasting near their homes. The mosque has entered into a two-year lease.
Suffa Dawat had the backing of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, which is a wealthy Islamic rights organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The council’s flip-flop angered residents who had come out against the mosque. But residents were not allowed to speak for or against the mosque until after the vote was taken.
One Kennesaw woman, Carlene Fregeolle, addressed the council after the vote. She said she met with the Muslims and found they had not disclosed all of their plans for the building on their application.
The mosque will be open for prayer five times a day, for the weekly call to prayer on Fridays, and also for an educational program for children on Sundays. The city restricted the mosque to 80 worshipers at a time and 40 parking spaces.
“They said they’re expecting about 80 children on Sundays. So, again, no worries about traffic and parking issues? Really? We’re now talking kids and lots of them,” Fregeolle said.
“Everything was done behind the scenes,” Fregeolle continued. “If they don’t get their way they sue. Our city council is afraid to stand behind their own zoning laws.”
Local media were reporting that a federal complaint had been filed with the U.S. Department of Justice and that the DOJ had threatened a lawsuit.
Fregeolle asked the council if that were indeed the case.
“I can answer that. No, the DOJ has not come in and has not threatened a lawsuit,” said city attorney Randall Bentley.
As a neighbor who lives closest to the mosque, Fregeolle said the Muslims lied to the city about her attitudes toward the new house of worship.
“They told the council I wouldn’t mind,” she said. “Again, that is false information. …By your flip-flopping you have made the city even more vulnerable.”
Suffa Dawat Center has also opened an online fundraising account with YouCaring.com with the goal of raising $30,000 for “legal costs and startup costs for Kennesaw Mosque.”
The legal expenses will apparently no longer be needed given the council’s about face.
Fregeolle said that if any other applicant had applied for the same space using the same tactics they would have been denied. “But with this group you have to be PC,” she said.
Written by LEO HOHMANN
Read more at WND