Muslim Man Plans To Build Mosque In Missouri, Citizens Intervene

20024 0

A Muslim man submitted plans to build a 10,000-square-foot mosque on a quiet plot of land. When locals grew concerned that worshipers would install disruptive loudspeakers and block traffic, they headed straight to their city hall.

One man’s plan for a 10,000-square-foot mosque was halted when local residents intervened. (Photo Credit: Provided)

When Horn Lake resident Ray Elk submitted an application to begin construction on a mosque on Church Road, he hoped that his plans would go off without a hitch. However, once his fellow citizens discovered what was to be built just down the road, they immediately took action.

Citizens gathered at Horn Lake City Hall to oppose the plan to build a 10,000-square-foot mosque called Abraham House of God, WREG reports. With an impressive turnout, locals argued against the structure, citing a multitude of concerns and issues with having such a large Islamic center on the 80-acre plot.

Ray Elk
Horn Lake City Council voted 5-1 to deny approval for the mosque’s construction after citizens showed up to vehemently oppose it. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

One by one, citizens stepped up to the podium to present their arguments against the mosque. Some pointed out that many of the mosques constructed around the country eventually install loudspeakers that blast the Islamic call to prayer in the early morning hours and at other times throughout the day on a daily basis.

“Horn Lake High School’s less than three miles from here. I would sure hate to see our students over there having to hear these speakers,” said one man.

Others explained that the mosque would increase traffic exponentially, which would be unsustainable for the narrow, 2-lane road that has neither a shoulder nor a turning lane available. One resident expressed concern that the mosque would operate under Sharia law.

“By the grapevine, I hear they’re not subject to our laws, they’re subject to their laws,” said Charles Elmore at a planning commission meeting.

Citizens were concerned about traffic hazards, water main issues, and loudspeakers blasting the call to prayer at all hours. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

After hearing citizens vehemently oppose the large mosque’s construction, the board of aldermen voted 5-1 to uphold the decision made by the city’s planning commission to reject approval for the site. However, Elk rejected the concerns of residents, accusing them of racism and Islamophobia instead of easing their fears.

“I’ve been a resident of DeSoto County for over 20 years. I raised all my six children in DeSoto County, they all go to school there and they have a right to go to their mosque and pray and practice their faith like every Christian,” said Ray Elk.

Ward 6 Alderman John Jones was quick to respond to such accusations, reiterating that there were multiple reasons citizens didn’t want the mosque built, including insufficient water mains, traffic hazards, and the noise ordinance, according to Commercial Appeal. He acknowledged that many mosques have promised not to install loudspeakers upon construction but end up doing it anyway.

“And nobody in the area wants to have the problems that could arise,” said Alderman John Jones. “We’ve got a school right down the road. They say they’re not going to do this, but they have lawsuits all over the country that are unsettled because of the noise. If you let them build it, they will come. I think we need to stop it before it gets here.”

Ray Elk
Ray Elk accused the citizens of racism and Islamophobia for opposing the mosque. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

During the meeting, Alderman Donnie “Chigger” White spoke to Elk directly, expressing his suspicion that the Muslim businessman wasn’t planning to stop at constructing a 10,000-square-foot mosque.

“10,000 square foot building, approximately how many acres of the plot does that cover?” White questioned Elk. “About three acres? So you’re buying a plot of 80 acres to put a three-acre church on? What’s your future plans?”

“As of this moment, as of probably four (or) five years, I have no other plans. I can put this in writing,” Elk said.

White replied, “That’s strange, 79 acres to put a three-acre church on. That’s not very good business. … We must have something on the horizon that you’re not wanting us to know about.”

Elk attempted to prove that the city is Islamophobic by pointing out that they weren’t concerned about traffic when they were willing to approve a 400-house subdivision in the area. However, he failed to mention that mosque attendees often arrive and leave all at the same time, whereas residents come and go at alternating times, which wouldn’t cause spontaneous traffic hazards.

Ray Elk vowed to fight the city’s decision in court. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Elk was forced to cease plans moving forward with the construction of the mosque. However, he promised to fight the city’s ruling in court and expressed optimism that a judge will overturn their decision.

Unless Elk’s mosque is built, the county will remain mosque-less, as just 15 Muslim families currently reside there. For now, citizens are at ease that their sleep won’t be disturbed each day by the call to prayer. However, if they wish for it to stay this way, they’ll need to keep fighting for their voices to be heard.