St. Cloud, MN City Council says NO to upgrading mosque

H/T Dorrie

A note from Debra Anderson, MN ACT! Chapter Leader (who sent me this info): The Islamic Center of St Cloud withdrew their amendment last night, after realizing they did not have enough votes from the city council to pass it. This grassroots effort, with support from inside and outside of MN, helped save this neighborhood from a massive Islamic complex, including a mosque with minarets.

Our View: Islamic center has followed desires of community

Withdrawing plan also showed willing nature [of what?]

Oct. 8, 2013 9:05 PM |


Clearly, leaders of the Islamic Center of St. Cloud heard their neighbors, fellow residents and elected leaders Monday night. And to their credit, center leaders did what civic-minded neighbors do: They responded with understanding and withdrew a proposal to build a large religious complex at 1850 Clearwater Road.

The center had requested an amendment to a planned unit development there to build two two-unit residential dwellings, a mosque, religious school and community building. Discussion at Monday’s City Council meeting made it clear most members echoed previous concerns about traffic and parking issues. Approval of the plan seemed highly unlikely.

Yet even though center leaders could have altered that plan, instead they decided to withdraw it completely. Not only does that mean any revised plan must start the entire process again, but it means years of crafting this vision and months spent working with experts and city staff to shape it, are all for nothing.

That move had to be disappointing for the center’s leaders. Kudos to them for being such good neighbors in making that tough decision. Let its significance not be lost on a community that isn’t always welcoming to new residents and one prone to comments about how people from other cultures don’t want to assimilate. [Hey, St. Cloud Times, could you BE any more condescending to those who opposed a huge mosque in their midst?]

Actions speak louder than words [well, there you go, proving the comment about cultures that don’t want to assimilate :-}; good job], and if scrapping detailed plans for a place for practicing your faith and educating your kids doesn’t show you want to be part of a community, what does?[Putting a mosque outside the city completely?]

That said, several council members who opposed the size and scope of this plan also talked about supporting the concept and even helping the center find a different site or develop a plan to fit within this property. Those are sentiments worth repeating in the wake of the center’s surprising decision. Backing them up with supporting actions would show center leaders (and all local Muslims) this community welcomes all faiths and, indeed, opposition in this case was solely about too big of a plan for the space and roads available.

As this board noted last month when it became clear the City Council would address this issue, no matter the decision made, a precedent would be set. Well, the Islamic center’s decision to withdraw might have taken the council off that hook, but it didn’t remove it for the entire community. Several council members said so themselves Monday. So who has some ideas on plans and places that can help local Muslims have another place to practice their faith?

The reaction from at least one member of the community that rallied against the expansion to the St Cloud Times:


How much more biased can a newspaper editorial be? The only reason the application was withdrawn is that a certain 6-1 denial would have resulted in a 1-year re-apply policy. How many more front page totally slanted photos can this city absorb? How much more animosity can you generate?

How much time did the City Staff, the Planning Commission, City Council, and neighbors waste on the over-aggressive proposal that after two lengthy hearings and recommendations of the Planning Commission was met with the arrogance of the refusal to accept it? City Staff relaxed the time for submission by 9 days to allow for the September 4th plan to make absolutely sure the applicant could get it right.

HOW DARE YOU ENCOURAGE anti-Islamic, Muslim, and Somali sentiment by these types of very slanted and bold statements to the demise of the very city you live in? LOOK AT THE COMMENTS TO THE EDITORIAL. ARE YOU PROUD OF THAT SENTIMENT YOU AND YOU ALONE CREATED BY THIS?

HOW DARE YOU accuse opposition AND THE CITY of being “NOT welcoming”?

HOW DARE YOU give credit to a proposal that CLEARLY had real challenges from the beginning and mask the reality of the objective decisions of City Council and give credit to the decision to withdraw as “civic-minded neighbors”?

HOW DARE YOU undermine due process and the professionalism and dedication of our City Staff and our elected officials to obviously move your own corporate agenda forward?

HOW DARE YOU publish “OUR VIEW” stating in effect that the “Center has followed the desires of community.” Whose community are you referring to?

HOW DARE YOU slant the perception of this decision and process without the INTELLIGENCE and the REALIZATION that you are in effect doing no good for the exact people who actually need assistance in a realistic location that meets their needs?

You should be ashamed of yourselves as corporate citizens. There was nothing accomplished by this slanted, toxic, one-sided view of a due-process procedure.

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? I called John Bodete a coward for refusing to print unbiased FACTS.

I did not go far enough. YOU ALL ARE, BY PUBLISHING THIS.

You have my express permission and encouragement to publish this.

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