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Planning Board Votes 'No' To Proposed Mosque In Sterling Heights

STERLING HEIGHTS (WWJ/AP) - A governmental board in suburban Detroit has denied the construction of a proposed mosque in the community.

The Sterling Heights planning commission voted 9-0 Thursday night against a special land agreement to build the mosque in a residential neighborhood.

Protests have been held at the proposed site of the 20,500-square-foot building by residents saying they were concerned about traffic congestion and lowered property values.

Last week a local Muslim attorney reached out to thousands of Sterling Heights residents via telephone. The Dearborn-based lawyer, Tarek Baydoun, delivered a recorded message to more than 18,000 homes in Sterling Heights.

In the recorded message, he said some Muslims moved to the U.S. in search of religious and personal freedom, exactly what our Founding Fathers fought for.

Supporters of the mosque have said the issue is anti-Muslim bias. Developer Jaafar Chehab told the commission Thursday that he couldn't "see a reason besides public pressure to deny" project.

But Sterling Heights officials said in a statement that the special land use was considered ... "based on objective land use criteria and not emotional feelings tied to religious beliefs either for or against the applicant."
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