More than 500 Norwalk residents packed the City Hall concert hall Wednesday night for a contentious public hearing on a proposed mosque that drew emotional reactions from opponents and supporters.
Stamford Advocate The proposal submitted by the Al Madany Islamic Center was first submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission in the spring of 2010. It calls for a 27,000-square-foot building at 127 Fillow St. that would include a prayer hall, classrooms, community center, 80-foot minaret and 89 parking spaces on a 1.5-acre lot where a 159-year-old home now sits.
So many came out to speak Wednesday that commissioners continued the public hearing shortly after 11 p.m. to allow all those who signed up an opportunity to speak.
Hargrove said the neighborhood is already home to the city’s golf course, two schools and two condominium complexes and the proposed mosque would further increase traffic. Hargrove is a member of “Keep 127 Fillow Street Residential,” a grass-roots group of residents that has hired a lawyer to oppose the mosque.
“They are building a facility that can house a 1,000 people. Eventually 1,000 people will come,” Hargrove told the commission reviewing the proposal. “They are building a community center, library … It’s not just something people will use two hours a week. Their schedule of religious practices unfortunately coincides with times that kids in the area are out and about. They are getting in and out of school.”
A similar mosque proposal was suddenly withdrawn prior to a public hearing in 2010 around the same time a national debate over a planned Islamic center near the World Trade Center site was raging. At the time, Al Madany officials said they were concerned about undertones of religious intolerance over their proposal. (That hasn’t changed. People still can’t stand muslims)
On Wednesday, those who spoke against the plan were careful to note that their opposition was not based on religious differences. (They’re not stupid) Hargrove said. “They have to appreciate that we have a community as well. We want our children and grandchildren to live, reside and continue with the feeling of the neighborhood we have today.” (A neighborhood free of muslims and all the hatred and violence they promote against non-muslims)
Umar Munshi, a graduate of Brien McMahon who now attends Fairfield University, said he was there to represent the Muslim youth in Norwalk. He grew up on Long Island before moving to Fillow Street. “Growing up I lived in Long Island. There was a mosque there. It was a centralized institution for Islamic education,” Munshi said. “As a young Muslim it’s important to have a unified view and learn the values of Islam. People have been saying, `If you build it they will come.’ They will come to get education. Does anybody think of that?” (That is exactly why they DON’T want you in their neighborhood)
(Typical liberal Jewish dhimmi) Rabbi Jon Fish of Congregation Beth El supports the mosque proposal and said the concerns over traffic and parking are nothing new. No one should be cast as a bigot, and yet I think it is important for all of us to find a way to reach out to one another and to ensure that our community continues to grow.”
Stepping Stone Road resident Brian Dough said he sees the traffic first-hand every morning when he has trouble pulling onto Fillow Street.
“It’s busy, busy, busy,” Dough said. “Now maybe I am dumb or naïve, but I think there will be quite a few more people coming to this place in time or right away. I don’t want to live near a Wal-Mart or a 27,000 square-foot building and I don’t think anyone in the neighborhood does. There’s no more room and this is huge. Once they build it, they will come. And you can’t stop it once it’s up. There will be cars all over the street.”
ORIGINAL STORY: anti-mosque-mania-heats-up-in-connecticut