Kennesaw city council changes course; votes 'yes' on new mosque - CBS46 News

Kennesaw city council changes course; votes 'yes' on new mosque

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KENNESAW, GA (CBS46) -

A Muslim prayer center, against the odds, got the green light on a new home.

Kennesaw city council voted yes to let the Suffa Dawat mosque temporarily move into a strip mall on Jiles Road, reversing a decision earlier in December to reject the mosque.

The same city council voted the measure down two weeks prior to approving it, saying there were issues like parking, traffic and zoning that all played a factor in the decision.

"The city has approved as many as five other similar situations in the city of Kennesaw - churches - and they've denied this group," said attorney Doug Dillard.

Dillard said they had gone above and beyond what was required of the law to get the clear sign. He and members of the Muslim group were hoping they would finally get the vote they had been looking for.

"We want to be a part of the Kennesaw community. Muslims are part of the community in Kennesaw," said Dillard.

Samir Mullick, a Kennesaw resident who supports the prayer center, commended city leaders for changing their minds.

Some believe the threat of an expensive lawsuit may have been a reason for the change, but regardless of reason, the Muslim group just wants a place to worship.

"Today they made the right decision," Mullick said. "We knew the first amendment is on our side. We knew the law was on our side."

City council members originally shot down the proposal 4-1, but all four who voted "no" later told Mayor Mark Mathews they had a change of heart.

"They came to my office and asked to change their vote as a result of legal advice from a discussion we had in our executive session," Mathews said.

A handful of protestors opposing the mosque demonstrated outside city hall, saying council members caved in to fears of possible legal action.

When asked if city leaders capitulated, Mathews responded "the vote was changed based on facts provided to us during the executive session.

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