CAIR-LA Welcomes San Bernardino County Approval of Mosque Construction
Anaheim , CA : The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has welcomed a vote by the San Bernardino County’s Planning Commission approving a conditional use permit for the construction of a mosque near Chino.
The Planning Commission’s approval comes after two years of challenges and delays faced by Al-Nur Islamic Center. Residents around the planned site expressed concerns about traffic and noise, while the county referred to staff changes as causes for the delay. A petition opposing the mosque building was also initiated.
Residents Oppose Center in Neighborhood: The Commission on Thursday approved a 262-person mosque to be built on approximately 7,000 square feet. The approved facility was reduced by about 40 percent from the original design to alleviate traffic concerns and ensure adequate parking spots on the property. Changes were also made to the mosque’s façade to mirror the neighborhood’s residential feel. The building will also be environmentally friendly.
Currently, some of the community’s prayer services are being held out of an office space in Montclair.
CAIR-LA has been monitoring the mosque’s application process, including participating in last month’s community strategy meeting and another meeting with the county’s planners.
Al-Nur Islamic Center application: “Alhamdulillah, the grace of God and active participation of our members as well as many Islamic leaders and leaders of ‘Interfaith Witness’ enabled this victory,” said Board Chairman Rashid Ahmed. “This Center will serve our communities of Ontario, west Chino, Chino Hills, Montclair and Upland, insha Allah. We will create a strong bridge with our neighbors despite their concerns. Our center will also be the hub of communication and understanding among different religions, cultures and ethnicities.”
At Thursday’s meeting, CAIR-LA Civil Rights Attorney Fatima Dadabhoy said during public comment:
“These local Muslim families are in dire need of a proper facility to exercise their faith according to their religious requirements. They have worked in good faith to address the concerns and requirements of their neighbors and the planners to make sure that their mosque will meet the needs of not only their own community, but of the broader community as well... It is my sincere belief that approval of this mosque will help to create a better neighborhood. They are putting down roots and showing that they have a long term investment in this community to keep it prosperous for themselves and for everyone else.”
CAIR-LA commended the Islamic Center’s leadership and members, and their attorney Todd Gallinger for persevering through the application process and working with the county to address any concerns. At the hearing, Planning Commissioner Bill Collazo commended the mosque and the Muslim community for exhibiting patience and respect for the county’s procedures.
CAIR-LA additionally commended representatives from Interfaith Witnesses, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, Imam Mahmoud Harmoush (Islamic Center of Temecula Valley), Imam Faiz Ali Shah (Fontana mosque), Imam Abu Haitham (Walnut mosque), and Islamic Shura Council of Southern California for supporting the mosque community.
Two other mosque construction projects in Southern California also recently faced challenges or outright hostility.
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CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.