Potential Move of Pompano Mosque into Black Community Raises Tensions

June 13, 2006

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel


On June 13, 2006 the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported, "A clash fueled by angry words has erupted over a plan to move a mosque from Old Pompano to the northwest part of the city, underscoring tensions between some in this city's black and Muslim communities. The Islamic Center of South Florida wants to move to a largely black, Christian section of Pompano Beach, where they have bought land meant to support their growing Muslim membership. But some leaders of the northwest area -- elected, religious and civic alike -- oppose a strong Muslim presence entering their neighborhoods. Muslims 'don't contribute a nickel to any cause in terms of improving the community,' said Commissioner E. Pat Larkins, who represents the area where the mosque would be located. 'Most black folks see them as people that come in to rape the community and go away.' While Larkins cited frustration with Muslim market owners, others in the black community gave religious and ethnic reasons for opposing the mosque. Elected leaders will consider tonight whether the Islamic Center, which has operated in the Old Pompano neighborhood on Northeast Sixth Street for more than 20 years, can build a bigger mosque in the 1500 block of Northwest 16th Avenue. Larkins said he will ask the city attorney how the mosque can legally be prevented from opening its doors. 'This is really shocking, and for it to come from a commissioner, it's really disturbing,' said Imam Hasan Sabri, spiritual leader of the Islamic Center. 'We should be working to bring people together and not create divisions among people.' Others on the City Commission said they saw no problem with allowing the mosque into the northwest part of town."