WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)--A vacant building on 16th and Rankin streets in Wilmington is one step closer to being turned into a new mosque.
The property got conditional special use approval at a Wilmington planning commission meeting tonight.
The Wilmington Islamic Learning Center is in the process of trying to take over the building that would hold a larger place of worship for them.
At a Wilmington planning commission meeting tonight folks came out in support of and in opposition to the mosque.
Folks opposed to the mosque said they were worried about parking and traffic.
The people in charge of the center said those things were reviewed, discussed with, and approved by city staff.
The planning commission approved the conditional rezoning.
Opponents say the debate wasn’t about Islam.
“I’m a minority, I’m Greek Orthodox. We were minorities for a very long time. So it’s not against religion,” said Angie Tsingelis, “It’s against that many more people and that many more cars in our neighborhood. “
Proponents say the whole thing surprised them.
“I was surprised and frankly I was disappointed,” said Khalil Moya, with the Wilmington Islamic Center. “As an American veteran it hurts to know that fellow Americans want to restrict your right to religious freedom. It is not a pleasant thing to encounter.”
Moya went on to say he was thrilled with tonight’s decision.
Opponents remain concerned about the traffic the 20-40 person facility would bring.
Before getting final approval the use permit must be approved by City Council.