Iowa: Controversy over North Liberty City Officials Plan to Lease Land Intended for Muslim Youth Camp

March 10, 2003

Source: Des Moines Register

On March 10, 2003 the Des Moines Register reported that "Muslim Youth Camps of America wants to lease the wooded 106 acres and turn it into Camp Heritage, the nation's first summer camp for Muslim youth. The Cedar Rapids-based nonprofit group envisions a conference center with spectacular views, 10 cabins, a boat dock and a 36-foot prayer tower... Some people hear the words 'Muslim' and 'camp' and envision terrorism... Most neighbors are trying to avoid sparking terrorism fears... 'We have tried to stick with just the facts,' said Lynne Kinney, who lives next to the camp and once took Girl Scout troops there. 'We have tried to stick with the environmental issues and the road issues and the safety issues and the noise issues and the light issues - and we're going to continue to stick with those issues...' Besides nearby residents, opponents include the city of North Liberty and the Johnson County supervisors... The officials talk about inadequate roads, heavy traffic and cost - not that the potential tenants are Muslim. 'We would object if anyone was proposing this,' said county Supervisor Carol Thompson... A decision is not expected until June."