A Kennesaw mosque which stirred up a storm of controversy for months before it was even opened is expanding its presence in its new home.
The Suffa Dawat Center opened in April after an original decision to deny the mosque a permit was reversed by the Kennesaw City Council. Now, the mosque is a crowded hub of activity on holy days and is expanding to an adjacent suite to give worshippers more breathing room, FOX 5 Atlanta says.
Mayor Mark Mathews told FOX 5 that the mosque had used all the proper channels and filed the proper permits before beginning the expansion and said that the city was not going to take any action on the expansion.
Residents who were opposed to the mosque remain opposed to its expansion; one anti-mosque resident said the expansion means more Muslims in the city, which could lead to Islamic laws being put on the books.
The Kennesaw City Council originally voted down the mosque proposal, but reversed their decision two weeks later. According to WSB-TV, Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews said that city council members had their minds changed by legal arguments from the city’s attorney. Matthews added that the reversal was not spurred by any outside pressure or a complaint filed with the Department of Justice.
An attorney representing Muslims involved in the project told the AJC in December that the city’s rejection of the mosque whilst accepting a Christian church inside the same shopping center last year could constitute a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
Similar violations were alleged during mosque expansion controversies in Alpharetta and Lilburn; in those instances, the cities allowed the mosques to expand, the AJC reports.