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Plans for Islamic mosque have some worried

July 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than 200 people worship on Sunday at Calvary Baptist Church of Temecula.For years, a vacant stretch of land next door has gone mostly unnoticed.

Not anymore.

The Islamic Center of Temecula Valley has chosen to build a mosque on Calle Medusa and Nicolas Road, and that has raised a stir in the area.

"Just in talking with others, we have seen a lot of, not opposition to it, but a reaction that a lot of people have concerns about it," said Calvary Baptist Church member Ryan Rench.

Rench said that not only are there parking and traffic concerns, but there are also fears that Islam itself will be pushed on Calvary Baptist Church members.

"It's not peaceful, so we have several members from an Islamic background, and have expressed concerns themselves because of their history in it," Rench said.

Other residents also have concerns.

"To put a mosque around here is going to get a lot of people worried, just because of what's going on in Iraq and Afghahistan," said Junior Satele of Temecula.

But the Islamic center's chairman, Hadi Nael, said there's no reason for concern.

"We don't go out door to door, we don't pass flyers, we don't pass booklets," Nael said.

Nael said their current place of worship in an office building a couple miles away is simply too small and all they're trying to do is expand.

"This is really surprising to see in a free country, that there is some kind of opposition for a peaceful community like us," he said. "All we do is just pray for God. That's all we do."

The approval of the mosque has not been finalized. The issue will come before the Temecula planning commission in August.


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