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

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Submitted: Wed, 07/02/2014 - 3:58am
Updated: Wed, 07/02/2014 - 1:04pm

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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52 Comments on "ONLY ON 3: Plan for Wilmington mosque faces opposition from neighbors"

2015 years 8 months ago

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.

Kimberly Mitchell
2015 years 8 months ago

This country was founded on religious freedom. If we can not offer that to all people and all religions, then we are not the great nation our forefathers founded. People fear what they do not understand. All Muslims are not terrorists nor are all terrorists Muslim. Just because a person claims to be something does not mean it’s true. If the people would educate themselves, they would see that Islam is actually a peaceful religion and the Muslims I have encountered are more pious and respectful than any other people I have ever met. I would much rather know I had a house of prayer in my neighborhood and know the sounds I hear at 4:30am were people praying as opposed to some of the sounds of crime and local gang violence of late. Only education will eradicate fear and only love can defeat hatred.

2015 years 8 months ago

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?

Martin Smith
2015 years 8 months ago

Your approach is the only sensible one that I have read in a long while.

2015 years 8 months ago

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.