Anti-Mosque Mania heats up in Connecticut

West Norwalk residents are protesting construction of the town’s first official mosque, which they say will create neighborhood parking and traffic problems, (not to mention visual pollution from people wearing headrags and body bags).

Stamford Advocate There has been some anti-Islamic sentiment about plans to build a mosque and community center in a Norwalk, including a threatening phone call to one member of the center, but most critics appear genuinely concerned about potential parking and traffic problems.

The Al Madany Islamic Center of Norwalk worships in a home now and organizers want to build the 2,700-square-foot mosque and community center on Fillow Street. The proposal comes as plans for a mosque near Ground Zero has met fierce opposition. Many neighbors have said that the streets aren’t wide enough to handle traffic and parking for the center.

A representative of Al Madany told The Advocate of Stamford that website news stories about the mosque have generated some racist comments online, as well as the threatening phone call.

“”I think it was someone who, for lack of a better word, was a crackpot,” Farhan Memon, a Al Madany congregation member, told the Advocate. “But it points to the fact that when we have issues like this come up, both locally as well as generally in the country, there are people who go over the line.”

“I think (the debate) is more because it’s a mosque than anything else,” Lyons said. “There are other religions that have buildings in residential areas.”

Farhan Memon, a Al Madany congregation member who is serving as its representative during the zoning process, agreed that many residents are concerned about parking on residential streets. He, however, also believes the same undercurrent of anti-Islamic sentiment that has been sweeping the country lurks below the surface of the debate in Norwalk.

Kathy Cossuto, who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years, said she does not want a mosque built on the corner, mainly due to traffic and parking. She said she is also concerned about the proposed mosque’s minaret. “They’re putting this minaret up but they say they’re not going to put a horn on it,” Cossuto said. “Well, then why are they putting it up?” (Exactly)

Memon said the minaret will not be equipped with a loudspeaker and (5X per day) calls to prayer will not be audible from outside the walls of the mosque. (Yes, it will, just not right away. Later they will sue the town, arguing that church bells are allowed.)