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Wilmington mosque not controversial like New York's

READ MORE: Wilmington mosque not controversial like New York's

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Controversy continues to swirl around the so-called Ground Zero mosque in New York City. Meanwhile Wilmington is welcoming it's own Islamic center. In about a year a lot on Princess Place Drive will be the new home of the Tauheed Islamic Center. It's something Muslims in the Port City say is very much needed.

Unlike the Mosque in New York, the new 3,500 square foot mosque in Wilmington, complete with an activity area and a kitchen, doesn't seem to be a problem for people in the Port City.

"Here in town? In wilmington? Why not? Why not?," asked Miguel de Soto of Wilmington. "It's not as sensitive of an issue."

But building a mosque blocks from Ground Zero in New York has sparked some heated debate.

"Anybody who doesn't want the mosque to be built is just completely going against what America stands for," Samantha Hackney. "In the end, this country was built on the foundation that we can practice whatever religion we want."

But others are sensitive to the issue.
"I don't think it should be built so close, because of the belief and the understanding that fundamental Islam is responsible for 9/11 attacks," de Soto said.

The leader of the Wilmington congregation says Muslims in New York City probably did not pick the best location for their mosque.

"Perhaps there could have been a better choice with the sensitivity that we do have," Imam Abdul Rahman Shareef said. "There's going to always be that, but the landscape of America is changing."

Hackney, who is part Muslim, says this kind of outrage should not be tolerated.

"To be able to take that Constitutional right away from a group of people because of a couple people is unfounded. That's un-American," she said. "And if you want to say anything else about it, go back to the Constitution and look it up."

Shareef just hopes the protestors in the Big Apple don't come to the Port City.

"As we build here, locally, we're all locally home-grown, graduate from Williston," he said. "Many of us served in the military. So we just hope this is a good decision, and we are maybe looking forward to perhaps making a better decision in New York."

Right now, Wilmington Muslims worship in a much smaller mosque on Castle Street. It will likely close when the new mosque opens next year.

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