While anti-Muslim protesters waved signs outside the Kennesaw City Hall, the City Council voted against allowing an Islamic group the opportunity to rent a retail space in the small Georgia town.
The local Islamic group agreed to the numerous limitations that the Kennesaw city attorney requested, including a limit of 80 worshipers at a time, 40 parking spaces and only a two-year lease, noted 11 Alive (video below).
“The issue at hand has to do with the hours and days of the week that [the mosque] will be open from my perspective,” Mayor Mathews told The Marietta Daily Journal.
City Council Member Cris Eaton-Welsh voted for the Muslim group's request, but the other four members voted against, without debate or comment.
“They have the right to be there, and we’ve already set precedent,” said Eaton-Welsh.
Matthews countered, "Each application is considered on its own merits and precedence does not come into consideration in my opinion."
Doug Dillard, a lawyer who represents the Muslim group, says they may have to sue the City of Kennesaw in federal court as similar suits have been successful.
“You know, if Christianity were killing people, I’m pretty sure I would have a problem with it," said Pastor C.S. Clarke of the Redeemed Christian Fellowship Church. "Then I would be concerned with that moving into my neighborhood. But, I’m open, I’m inclusive. Christianity does teach love, inclusiveness, creating a better environment for everyone.”
Clarke added, “I really believe that the country was founded on freedom of religion, so that’s always my first perspective. Can we practice religions openly? I think that’s what the laws really protect. As far as that particular faith, I do know that there’s some challenges, and I think that’s what’s maybe influencing a lot of our decisions in this modern day."
Outside the City Hall, anti-Muslim protesters held signs such as "Ban Islam."