The site of the proposed Muslim Community Center and Mosque, two blocks from Ground Zero is Shown at 45 Park Place in New York on August 17, 2010. Owners of the propertty involved in the controversial project claim the community center is intended to help bridge the gap between Christians, Jews and Muslims with exhibition space and recreational facilities in addition to an area for Islamic prayer. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo
NEW YORK, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Plans to build mosques have stirred emotions in at least four cities across the United States, not just New York, authorities said.
The battle over the mosque and Islamic center planned two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City has captured national attention, but plans to develop mosques elsewhere also are sparking confrontations, The Christian Science Monitor reported Thursday.
The controversy over the mosque and Islamic center planned two blocks from the World Trade Center site, is expected to grow with protests planned for Sunday, officials said. Families of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack, neighborhood residents, military veterans and construction workers are expected to participate in the protest, organizers said.
In Temecula, Calif., demonstrators have shown up during afternoon prayers at the temporary Islamic center to protest proposed construction of a 24,000-square foot mosque and Islamic center on some vacant land the Muslim group owns, CSM said.
Protesters, including a pastor of a church that would be the mosque's neighbor, say they're concerned about Islam and carry signs proclaiming "No Allah Law Here."
The mosque's imam, backed by a local interfaith council, said he would like to meet with the concerned pastor and others to explain the teachings of Islam.
In Mufreesboro, Tenn., opponents of a proposed 52,000-square foot mosque and Islamic center raised environmental and traffic concerns, the Monitor reported.
"That thing will be about half the size of a Wal-Mart," Mike Sparks, a former county commissioner now running for state representative, told the Monitor. "It will be a dangerous intersection, it needs a turning lane."
Concerns also have been raised that extremists would be trained there.
Supporters of the right of Muslims to build the mosque said government doesn't have the right to interfere with religious freedom and there is no evidence the mosque, which has been scaled back, was ever used to train terrorists.
Protesters in Florence, Ky., are using a "'Stop the Mosque" Web site to try to halt construction of an Islamic center on 5.5 acres of land its congregation bought.