Mosque finally approved in US city after Muslim group sues

According to the lawsuit, the effort for the mosque was met by virulent attacks against the Muslim religion in Bayonne.

    A view of the bridge connecting Bayonne in New Jersey to New York's Staten Island [File: Mel Evans/AP]
    A view of the bridge connecting Bayonne in New Jersey to New York's Staten Island [File: Mel Evans/AP]

    A US city finally gave approval for the construction of a mosque in the state of New Jersey, ending a saga that started last year when the local government rejected the effort and a group of Muslims sued in response.

    The approval late on Monday came after the two-year effort to convert an abandoned warehouse into a mosque and Islamic community centre in Bayonne, a working-class city across the harbour from New York City.

    According to the lawsuit, the effort for the mosque was met by virulent attacks against the Muslim religion and was then unfairly voted down by the city's zoning board.

    "We are very pleased to have received a unanimous approval from the zoning board and look forward to welcoming Bayonne residents of all faiths to the city's first mosque," said Adeel Mangi, a lawyer for the Muslim group, told The Jersey Journal.

    Attacks against the mosque effort included flyers calling for boycotts of Muslim-owned businesses with references to the September 11 attacks, and anti-Muslim graffiti on the walls of the church the Muslim community rented for prayer services.

    Signs saying "Save Bayonne" and "Stop the mosque" were displayed around the town.

    At one zoning board hearing, a person argued the mosque should be denied because people would become "radicalised" and kill others, the lawsuit said.

    Before the zoning board unanimously approved the mosque on Monday, opponents called again for its rejection. "I do not believe our city should bend to the threat of a lawsuit," said Joseph Basile, a local pastor.

    City officials noted a lengthy legal battle could have cost Bayonne millions of dollars. 

    Islamophobia in the USA

    Al Jazeera World

    Islamophobia in the USA

    SOURCE: AP news agency


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.