ONLY ON 3: Plan for Wilmington mosque faces opposition from neighbors

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- An office building in Wilmington might be turned into a new mosque, but the idea has some neighbors concerned.

The Islamic community is growing in Wilmington and now looking for more space. They found an empty office building on Rankin Street, but rezoning is not the only obstacle they have run into.

"We're growing just like the larger community," said Musa Agil, chariman of the Islamic Center of Myrtle Grove. "They are growing, and they need to build new churches and synagogues everywhere, and we are, too."

Agil says that is why they want to turn a vacant office building at 16th and Rankin streets into a mosque. The building is nestled right in the middle of the historic district.

"We hear everything," a concerned neighbor said. "Just the thought of 4:30 in the morning hearing doors slamming."

The homeowner, who did not want to be identified, says early-morning prayers at the mosque are not the only thing she is worried about. In order to use this space the islamic learning center has to get a conditional district rezoning petition approved. This will change the use of the building from an "office" to a "religious institution."

"We are all just too worried about the loss of property value, and the amount of people it's going to bring into the neighborhood," the woman said. "This neighborhood isn't built for an extra thousand people."

Agil does not think the location of any kind of religious organization should be an issue.

"The American people are very understanding people, and they're very educated, intelligent people. They practice their religious right every day," he said. "I don't think they would want to stop somebody from practicing his or her right."

The planning commission will meet July 9 at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers to consider rezoning the property. They want to hear from anyone who has any objections or concerns.

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Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Memories in this town are short. Two and a half years ago, there was an armed robbery at the Wrightsville Country Store where the clerk shot the perpetrator. The owner of the store said that he should have gone ahead and killed the thug. After that incident, the store owner gave his employees guns and payed for them to get training. The name of that store owner is Musa Agil. Back then he was praised for his actions, but now he is being condemned because he wants a place to practice his religion.

Saying that all Muslims support the practice of extremists is like saying that all Catholic Priests are child molesters or saying that all Baptist churches are like Westboro. Mr. Agil and the congregation with which he associates, are entitled to the same freedom of religion as the rest of us.

As a Muslim in the Wilmington community, and have lived here all of my life, I am very disgusted to know that some of you people think like this. This is the problem with us as individuals. No one is trying to corrupt wilmington. "Ooooh, BEWARE!!!!" Yea, okay. No one is going to get woken up by early calls for prayer. It is NOT something you hear that is blasted by a loud speaker outside. The only time there is a large number of Muslims at the mosque is usually on Fridays at noon and during Ramadan in the evenings. Worried about the decrease in property values because of the mosque? We are located on Wrightsville Avenue in a predominantly white neighborhood. Property sales definitely haven't gone down there. So why would they go down somewhere that's literally 2 seconds away from Rankin, Red Cross, etc. Where property value is down anyway because it's what we call "the projects." I mean it's 2 seconds one way to an area where predominantly African American people reside, and 2 seconds the other way is where predominantly white people reside. It just seems like someone just wants to complain and doesn't want us there. And that's fine. Just don't make up "excuses" as to why we shouldn't turn the space that's been abandoned for a while now into a mosque. We are normal people just like the next. Just because we choose to worship differently than you doesn't mean you need to be intolerant of other people's beliefs. I also can't believe someone would say that the Muslims you need to be worried about are the ones who ACTUALLY practice their faith. We don't condone violence of any kind and we don't promote extremism of any kind. Any "Muslim" that does is NOT Muslim. If someone says, "Oh, you should find a Muslim friend," it's just to show you that we are NORMAL. I have friends that are Jewish, Christian, Catholic, etc. Just because we have different faiths and may disagree on certain things doesn't mean I'm going to disrespect them and try and isolate them from the rest of society. A lot of you people don't know how many feelings you may hurt and a lot of you may not care. And if you don't then so be it; but if it's meant to be then it was meant to be. If it's not, then it's not. Don't be so self centered and heartless. Don't be so quick to categorize and put a stereotype on EVERY Muslim because we are NOT all the same. And if you don't want to have a Muslim as a "friend" and if you don't want to at least give it a try and invite in others with open arms, then you'll NEVER know we're all not the same. Being angry, cold, disrespectful, and rude hardens the heart. Where has love and respect gone? Is it only given to your family and loved ones? Everyone needs love and respect. It can be the smallest thing that makes someone's day. It starts with us first, whether I am Muslim or not. If we don't try to change and better ourselves, how can we help to change and better the people around us?

On the other hand I have seen and experienced first hand 58 years of Christian hate, bigotry and violence.

"Everyone needs love and respect."

Well said. Try saying that to the Muslim Majority in Iran, Egypt, and Nigeria, who are killing people, just for being Christian.

I just think that every religion has serious flaws and
will always have radicals that upset the majority.
I was raised Catholic in Whites- ville America but after
living and traveling in different parts of the world I can
truly say that most people just want peace.
The US govt and Christians are not perfect little white
angels on this world stage, so any sort of righteousness
on your part is way out of order.
There is too much history that you are ignoring or just
forgot to read about.
I think it's time for Wilmington to catch up with the rest of the
country and start adding some new religions, the Baptist
thing is so last century. We need to shift forward 20 years, fast.
Open your minds people, open your minds.

I'm not even religouse myself but u know if this was some kind of christian or hebrew or even boodist or hindoo place of worship going up them liberals would be foaming at the gizzard abot religouse tyranny but b/c it's a muslin thing they say "oh that's good we need more diversity in da community" bunch of hippocritical dingbat's!!!

This building as sat empty for years and now someone has found a use for it neighbors which may not be to their liking now worry about property values. The hatred that is spewing out in some of these comments says something about the closed minded people of this city. Across the street from this empty building sits the Jewish, Bellevue and Pine Forest Cemeteries. One block away sits the Church of Scientology. Four to five blocks away sits Temple Baptist Church and three blocks sit St. Paul's Episcopal Church so churches in the area shouldn't be too much of a problem. Adding another place of worship to the neighborhood shouldn't be too much of a problem unless it's the hatred of people who practice Islam is the issue. True followers of Islam pray more than Christians do. All religions have fanatics and to categorizes these people before they even move into the neighborhood is a shame and disgrace. Get to know these people before you start worrying about them blowing up your neighborhood. I've heard the call of noon prayers while in Turkey and it was done decent and in order. Stop the fear mongering!

Only a bunch of stark raving mad liberals could turn this into an attack against Christianity. Last time I checked any of the news outlets, Christians were not beheading people for disagreeing with them. They also weren't making women cover themselves or limiting their rights in any way.

Yes, in this country we have freedom of religion as provided for in the Constitution. Islam is a much more fanatical animal than just a bunch of Baptists going to church on Sunday and Wednesday.

Save this crap about "you should have a Moslem friend". The only Moslem who doesn't practice the tenets of Islam is a non-practicing Moslem. The so-called radical Moslems are your standard followers of that faith.

I am just here to laugh at the bigotry.

You think Muslims are the only fanatical religion? You also claim that all Muslims are terrorists? Since 9/11 there have been more terrorist acts committed by Christian Fanatics in the U.S. than Muslim Fanatics. But your point is well made. You are all for freedom of religion, as long as that religion is some form of Christianity.

Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists ARE Muslim. Facts please on your 9/11 comment. Did you forget to take your meds? Your point is not well made. I'll start a list and you the other and we'll compare. 1) Nidal Malik Hasan - 13 killed, 30 wounded. 2) Tamerlan Tsarnaev - 3 killed, 264 wounded. 3) John Allen Muhammad - 10 killed, 3 wounded. 4)Abdulhakim Muhammed - 1 killed, 1 wounded. Ok, moonbat, now you start.

I made you a list of Christian terrorists.

1. Westboro Baptist Church
2. Timothy McVeigh
3. Terry Nichols
4. Frank Silva Roque
5. Scott Roeder
6. Jim David Adkisson
7. Paul Jennings Hill
8. Eric Rudolph
9. James Charles Kopp
10. Joseph Stack

I can't blame you for parrotting fox news. But the lease you could do is come independent research; you along with a huge number of republican posters have made a mockery of Christianity and intelligence. From misspelling Muslim to assuming all Muslims are terrorist.

This nation was built on religious freedoms. Lets keep it that way.

Christopher, let us start off first, by getting a few things straight. Are you paying attention? Your list, although tragic, doesn't mean squat in the conversation. Yes, there are nut jobs in every religion, but my response was to Guest000000's quote, "Since 9/11 there have been more terrorist acts committed by Christian Fanatics in the U.S. than Muslim Fanatics". Can you not comprehend since 9/11? Your independent research couldn't figure that out? Yep, I'm the one who is ignorant. My list is accurate, very tragic, and is just a start. Now, let us get to the rest of your very generalized comments. I can't remember the last time I watched faux news or any of the other bs news channels. They ALL serve their masters, haven't you figured that out yet? I am not republican and have not made "a mockery of Christianity and intelligence". If anything, you have made a mockery of intelligence. Also, please show me where I have misspelled Muslim. If you are trying to lump me in with your generalizations of who you think I am and your "But the lease you could do is come independent research", you fail! I can't blame you for being an idiot. Lets keep it that way.

How many did that registered republican, Timothy McVeigh, kill? I don't remember him being a Muslim.

I guess reading comprehension isn't your strong suit. That was about 6 1/2 years before 9/11, besides McVeigh wasn't a religious fanatic.

You're right. He wasn't a religious fanatic; he was a republican fanatic that loved guns, the constitution and killing people.

I know this is hard for you to do, b/c you beat the same drum everyday, stay on topic.


Wilmington Observer

Registered independent voter here (a few clicks to the right of center), and a Christian, but I don't feel threatened by this.

While I agree that there seems to be far too many radical practicing Islamists these days, it still is unfair to paint all Moslems with that same broad brush. The same thing goes for Christians. Those crazy extreme Baptists who were desecrating the funerals of our fallen servicemen were definitely radical. The Roman Catholic church limits the rights of women by denying them any true leadership roles in their hierarchy. Yea, I know that's not beheading someone, but only a few radical fools have done that. The basic tenants of Islam, contrary to your opinion, do not condone that kind of behavior.

It's possible to be a practicing Moslem and still be a good American. To say otherwise is to condone the mentality one would find in a witch hunt, and as a practicing Christian, I would have to say that that's just wrong.

Where's the support from the Right Wingers? This is a Religious Freedom issue, correct? Seems like you all should be running to support this mosque. If a neighborhood was complaining about a Christian Church moving in, we'd have 85 comments about how this country was founded on religious freedom, yadda yadda yadda, War on Christmas, yadda yadda yadda, Christian Persecution, yadda yadda yadda, ad nauseum.

And I'll speak for a great majority when I say this. NONE of us, right or left will EVER welcome ANY religion that has already committed and promises to commit more violent devastation of our country, our freedom, our innocent people and our property based on the premise of their "religion". THAT Guest000000 brain cells is the bottom line and has absolutely ZERO to do with religious freedom in any sense of anyones imagination.

Now lay your crack pipe down for a few days and allow your tiny little brain to re-hydrate before you wake up in the Oaks strapped to a gurney!

I like to pretend the crusades never happened too. I also like to pretend that an entire religion is responsible for inhumane atrocities of a terrorist group. Because FOX NEWS said it.

Christianity is far from innocent. Refrain from the pointless insults as it shows your ignorance.

Although the arrogance in your post is very amusing.

The crusades ended in 1292. That's 722 years ago. Christians don't act in that manner anymore, the Fanatical Muslims still do. Ever wonder why most of today's advanced mathematics originated in the middle east, yet those people are still living in mud huts and throwing rocks at each other just like they did over 2000 years ago? Here's a clue. The leaders of the middle east don't want their people to have anything, no education, no money, no opportunity, no modern conveniences...nothing. All they give them is religion and they pump it through them like air. It's all they have. However, the smartphone and the internet are changing things for them. Now they see what the rest of the world has and how they live and they want some too! This is the reason for all of the uprisings in Egypt and Syria. There's your history lesson for the day. Try picking up a book and reading for a change!

I think Heimie makes an excellent point and the "arrogance" as you call it is knowledge, which you seem to lack. That my friend, is the definition of "ignorance" in itself.

That rant was extra idiotic, even by your pitiful standards. Classifying all Muslims as terrorists is like saying all Christian beliefs are the same as Westboro Baptist's. There have been lots of attacks on innocent people by right wing Christians. The bottom line is you and your ilk are all for religious freedom as long as that religion is some form of Christianity.

Regarding the past 800 years, I haven't heard of any "right wing Christians" flying airliners into skyscrapers to kill thousands of people. I haven't heard of a single "right wing Christian" enlisted in our armed forces, opening fire and killing 13 of his own and injuring 30 others in the name of "allah" (only to have our dear president deem it as "workplace violence"). I haven't heard of a single "shoe bomber", "underwear bomber" or any other with the sole intent of destroying America and its freedoms as the Muslims proudly proclaim.

NO! My bottom line is the Muslims have boldly told us that they are out to destroy America and its "infidels. NO religion has that right and the American people will not willingly allow it.

You need to wake up and smell the camel dung, but mostly, don't attempt to turn what I write into any of your pointless ramblings!

With that pseudonym you're using it seems you would remember a right wing christian named Hitler that did worse things to people than anyone else in the last 800 years.

If Hitler was ever a Christian it hasn't been publicized, but what the facts are, is this: Hitler drove the Nazi party purely on politics and it wasn't "right wing" or "Christian" based by any means. From Wikipedia, "According to a US Office of Strategic Services report, "The Nazi Master Plan", Hitler planned to destroy the influence of Christian churches within the Reich.[369][370] His eventual goal was the total elimination of Christianity." Hitler also publicly denounced international capitalism. Not a very "right wing" thing to do, right? Tinga-Linga!!!

Guestman, doing simple and basic internet searches will greatly assist you in not appearing so completely uninformed and thereby having to suffer from splattering of the mouth...

Any thing you read online it starts by saying that Naziam is a right wing political party.
You are decieving people with some of your statements because there is nothing in his speeches or writings to say he wanted to eliminate Christianity.
In fact, Hitler was baptized as an infant and was confirmed at 15 years old. When he died he was still a member of the Catholic Church.
In Mein Kampf he "claimed to fulfill the will of the Christian God since he was chosen by providence".
In a speech in 1928 he said "we tolerate no one in our ranks that attacks the ideas of Christianity; in fact our movement is Christian".
Don't you think it's funny that Heimie doesn't want to wade in on this? So, hopefully in the future you won't parse a few words like good Stepford Republican'ts do and realize that the internet is truly a wonderful thing when it comes to sorting through BS like yours.
Any way, he wasn't a Muslim and he was the worst in the last 800 years. He was a Protestant.

Wolf in sheeps clothing?

Even the shepards have to fend the flock from the wolves from time to time.

That also includes non believers.