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Some Residents Voice Concerns Over Muslim Community Center's Plans

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - The city of Aurora will be scheduling a neighborhood meeting over concerns regarding the future plans for the Colorado Muslim Community Center near Hampden Avenue and Chambers Road.

Colorado Muslim Community Center
(credit: CBS)

The site of construction crews filling in dirt in what was a swimming pool there has neighbors wondering if the center is turning into a mosque.

One couple that lives in the area expressed a fear linking Muslims to terrorism.

"I don't know those people. And it does raise fears when people are dishonest about their motives," the wife said.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger interviews the couple.(credit: CBS)

Her husband commented about other neighbors' views, stating "Some of these people are afraid. They're afraid of Muslims. Some of them may even be bigoted."

The website has been filled with conflicting comments.

One reads "No mosks (sic) should be allowed here."

But another notes: "This country has freedom of religion."

The privately owned center is now open, but not to the public, although it has plans for that. It has a room used for prayer.

The Colorado Interfaith Alliance stands firmly behind the center.

"The Muslim community center is a community center and it's just that. And it's in those places that we build relationships and we get to know one another," said Rev. Amanda Henderson, the alliance's executive director.

Colorado Interfaith Alliance
Sallinger interviews members of the Colorado Interfaith Alliance. (credit: CBS)

The center previously held an open house attended by some in the neighborhood.

"If there is innate fear that a community center owned by Muslims will be a mosque, then I think the question should be 'Well, why not? What if it was a mosque?'" said Iman Jodeh, a member of the Colorado Muslim Society.

Iman Jodeh
Iman Jodeh (credit: CBS)

Jodeh added that every day people go to YMCAs in Jewish community centers and this is no different.

A statement from the city of Aurora on the issue stated in part:

"It is our understanding that this privately owned facility will operate primarily as a recreation center with public access and hours posted."

The statement also relates that the plans are for the pool to be turned into a basketball court and that it is for recreational use.

Earlier this week, city representatives met with members of the Mission Viejo Homeowners' Association to discuss the issue. Alan Engle, the president of the HOA, said they want more information about the plans for the center.

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