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Temecula residents square off over proposed mosque

The Temecula resident leading the challenge to a proposed mosque urged his allies to refrain from lashing out at Islamic religious beliefs, saying that to deny the project based on religion would be "un-American."

George Rombach, president of Concerned American Citizens, appeared before the City Council on Tuesday night for a public hearing on the proposed mosque in this conservative Riverside County city. 

He said he opposes the project because it would greatly increase traffic on nearby streets and accused the city of giving the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley "preferential treatment'" by exempting the proposed mosque from a full environmental review.

The city's planning commission unanimously approved the project in early December.

Rombach appealed that ruling to the City Council, which is expected to vote on the proposed mosque after a public hearing Tuesday night.

At the packed hearing, city planners said that the project meets all legal requirements, including environmental reviews, and that the city-commissioned traffic study shows the mosque will not have any detrimental impact on neighborhood streets.

Plans by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley to build a 24,943-square-foot mosque on a vacant 4-acre plot in northeast Temecula has been attacked by opponents who said the mosque will attract Islamic extremists and overwhelm the neighborhood with congestion.

City Atty. Peter Thorson told the City Council that they can only consider land use issues in considering the project.

Basing any decision on any religious, political or social factor would be a violation of freedom of religion protected by the 1st Amendment, he said.

Hadi Nael, chairman of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, appeared before the council early in the evening to dispel concerns that there may be loud calls to prayer. He said there would be no calls to prayer outside of the mosque.

Nael later asked the council to give the mosque the same consideration that it would give any other religious facility.

-- Phil Willon in Temecula

Comments () | Archives (13)

About the only "reasonable" reason to oppose this mosque would be traffic... if only the same rules were applied to christian churches. But it seems that is not the case. Fairness & democracy demand equal treatment. Support the mosque, even if you are an atheist (as I am).

Mr Rombach is on solid ground & the issue of preferential treatment regarding a full environmental review is a valid one. If in fact Temecula HAS given preferential treatment to the Islamic Center in avoiding a FULL environmental review, then the solution should be simple: REQUIRE a full environmental review.

Many people of all political persuasions were unhappy when Islamic pressure group CAIR sued Disneyland last summer for not allowing a Muslim employee (who had worked 2 full years there without complaint) to wear a HIJAB on the job, despite the fact that ALL RELIGIOUS ACCESSORIES are banned by Disney's STRICT EMPLOYEE DRESS CODE. The general public perception is that Muslim pressure groups like CAIR & MPAC are seeking PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT for Muslims beyond what is given to other religions.

Mosque director Hadi Nael should have no problem with a FULL environmental review, since he has already asked that the mosque be given the same consideration that any other religious facility is given. It is good that he clarified the issue of no prayer calls going outside the mosque & if the mosque gets final approval, he needs to be held to that promise.

I have some close friends who live in Toronto, Canada (a Jamaican/Mexican couple) who say the Muslim prayers calls there in Toronto are VERY loud & obnoxious for those who do not happen to be Muslim, so this is clearly a SERIOUS issue.

It is also good that Mr Rombach has called on others opposed to the mosque to avoid anti-Islamic statements, since that should not be a consideration, though FOREIGN FUNDING (especially Saudi funding) is a genuine danger. The secular, NON-PARTISAN human rights group Freedom House has done an excellent report that can be accessed by visiting freedomhouse.org & doing a word search for "Saudi Hate Literature" which has infested MANY American mosques for several decades.

I learned all I need to know about Islam on 9/11.

There aren't exactly many churches that are 24,943-square-feet. Why is the proposed mosque so huge?

Rombach, are you insane or just plain stupid? What part of the First Amendment don't you understand? You obviously appreciate the part of the First Amendment that give all of us the right to free speech, even when it consists of bigoted ignorant hogwash. Apparently you don't acknowledge anyone else's rights if they don't conform to your view of what should be acceptable in your little world.

There are twelve Cristian churches within three blocks of where I live. Not one of them has been subjected to the kind of hostility that you spew toward this proposed Mosque. Not one of them has been required to undergo a "full environmental review."

Traffic!!?? Are you kidding me!!?? It sometimes takes me an hour and a half to get home from work, and you're whining about the possibility of a few blocks of congested traffic a few hours a week. Jesus H. Christ! Get a clue and shut up.

Temecula residents are not "squaring off." One bonehead is striving for his fifteen minutes of fame.

Some people actually think preventing the building of a mosque-- any mosque-- would somehow be a blow against Islamic extremists. I'm guessing none of these people has spent much time in a Muslim country. Many many not know there are billions of Muslims in the world, with the overwhelming majority not sympathetic to extremists, who have argued that, although our government says it's fighting just violent extremists, the West is really at war with all of Islam. Some people in Temecula seem determined to prove the extremists correct, thus helping recruit even more people to the extremists' cause. Maybe the mosque opponents really work for Al Qaeda?

Grow up Temecula.

The are *zero* Christian churches in Saudia Arabia, our best friend!

just sayin'...

@Adam W

Excellent question amigo...how many churches or synagogues are 25,000 SQUARE FEET? That is GIGANTIC, especially for a small RURAL community like Temecula.

That's why the issue of FOREIGN FUNDING needs to be examined...the Saudis have funded roughly 80% of American mosques built in recent years & always with the RADICAL Wahhabist influence that goes with it.

Go to the excellent NON-PARTISAN, SECULAR website of human rights group Freedom House & do a word search on "SAUDI PUBLICATIONS/HATE IDEOLOGY" to read a VERY disturbing report (freedomhouse.org)

Can i do something about a presbyterian church being built in my community. It's the 4th christian church within a 10 mile radius. Its getting ridiculous. They sing songs and won't let me sleep every sunday morning. No more churches or mosque in general. Plus i remember what the christians did to the native americans. I won't have the christians do it here. PS. GO Buddhism. the only true religion.

My grandparents had to flee Northern Ireland after death threats because of conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. She was Protestant, and he was Catholic. When I became of age, I volunteered and joined the Army, and I served as an 11B Infantryman. Most of my time in the field was in squad or platoon size operations. We would have discussions about what we were fighting for. It always came back to the “Bill of Rights”. To me the most important was “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
What else did our Founding Fathers have to say about religion?
"Question with boldness even the existence of a god." - Thomas Jefferson (letter to Peter Carr, 10 August 1787):
"All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason;
"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together", John Madison.
“Lighthouses are more helpful than Churches”, Benjamin Franklin

Posted by: Jon | January 26, 2011 at 12:25 AM
I learned all I need to know about Islam on 9/11.

Did you also learn all you needed to know about Christianity or Pro-lifers when Scott Roeder murdered Dr. George Tiller?

It is unreasonable to paint every member of a religion or group with the same brush as those who commit acts of violence in the name of that religion/group. Every religion/group has the capability of being violent in the name of their beliefs...but not every member of that religion/group believes violence is the answer.

Please think about that the next time you consider throwing out the whole basket of apples because of one or two bad ones.


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