After Sept. 11, Muslims Encounter New Problems in Building Mosques

March 11, 2004

Source: USA Today

On March 11, 2004 USA Today reported, "Some Muslim groups seeking to build mosques to accommodate their growing numbers of followers are encountering vehement opposition in communities across the nation. In some cases, the conflicts are similar to those that for decades have pitted residents against expansion plans by large churches. Neighbors in communities from New Jersey to Arizona have protested Muslim groups' proposals for mosques by raising classic 'not-in-my-backyard' arguments that have focused on the sizes of planned buildings, parking, lighting and other factors that can affect property values. But the debates over mosques in several U.S. cities during the past two years occasionally have led to name-calling and allegations of bigotry -- a reflection of some residents' mistrust of Muslims since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by radical Muslims. Last year in Voorhees, N.J., a suburb of Philadelphia, a Muslim group's proposal to turn a commercially zoned building into a mosque led anonymous critics to distribute fliers that warned residents that extremists 'with connections to terrorists' might worship there. The fliers also claimed that the mosque run by the Muslim American Community Association, a group of about 15 families, would attract hundreds of worshipers for prayers five times a day." The article outlines cases in America where conflicts have erupted over the building of mosques.