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Muslim group: Sheepshead Bay mosque WILL be built — and it won’t be so bad

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Backers of the proposed mosque in Sheepshead Bay aren’t letting a few angry neighbors and a bomb threat deter them from seeing their dreams become a reality.

“We are not backing off,” Ibrahim Anse, a backer for the Voorhies Avenue mosque project who is also the group’s main architect. “This is our right and it’s a cause we believe in.”

Anse’s words defiantly counter the vitriol spewed on the block between East 28th and East 29th streets last month when 200 protesters inferred that the mosque’s builders were connected to Islamic extremists.

One neighbor even claimed he would blow the mosque up if it was built.

Other opponents have said that the mosque and community center would create traffic and parking nightmares for the neighborhood.

“We’re not racist, we’re realists,” said Susan Gerber, a 30-year resident of Sheepshead Bay. “We are entitled to traffic studies and noise studies and safety studies. People will be walking in the gutter to get around [the mosque]. They’ll be all kinds of fatalities.”

Yet Anse says the four-story building will have very little impact on the block.

The mosque will be open five times a day for prayers, but Anse doesn’t expect more than 20 people to show up for services. About 150 worshippers would come to the mosque during Friday and holiday services, and most of the faithful will come on foot from within the neighborhood.

“And if they park illegally and get a ticket, they deserve it,” he added. “[Opponents] have an image in their heads that this is going to be a school with 500 to 600 students, but that’s a complete exaggeration. There are not going to be that many people coming. It’ll serve about 150 families, but not all of them are going to be gathered at the same place at the same time.

“Some may notice a change in the area, but not in the way the neighborhood thinks,” he said.

The mosque and community center is the brainchild of longtime Sheepshead Bay resident Ahmed Allowey, who envisions a mosque on the first two floors and classrooms and a library on the third and fourth floors.

Once its built, it will be run by the Muslim American Society, a nationwide organization that some claim is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist group that wants to create an Islamic state in the U.S.

Yet Mahdi Bray, the Muslim American Society’s executive director, said those allegations couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We were formed in 1993 as a Muslim-American organizati­on,” he said. “Even when we talk about international matters, we do it from a Muslim-American perspective. We’re not a mouthpiece for any group outside the U.S.

“We have an excellent record with local law enforcement,” he continued, adding that the Muslim American Society already runs a mosque on Bath Avenue in Bath Beach. “We’ve been across the street from a police station [the 62nd Precinct stationhouse] for 10 years. If we were up to something shady, they would have known about it.”

Lana Safah, an administrator at the Bath Beach mosque, said affairs such as weddings and funerals probably won’t be held at the Voorhies Avenue mosque. Rather, those events will still be held at her house of worship.

“[The mosque] will just accommodate the community in that neighborho­od,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to go from Exit 9 on the Belt Parkway to Exit 5 just to say prayers that don’t exceed 10 minutes. It’ll serve the local and the immediate needs of the community.”

And when she says the community — she means the entire community.

Besides religious instruction, other classes, such as English as a second language instruction, will be available, she said.

“The mosque will target the needs of the Muslim community, but be open to anybody who needs it,” she said, adding she hopes residents of Voorhies Avenue and Muslim worshippers learn to respect each other over time.

“We’re not backing away, but we don’t want to force this on the community either,” she said, calling the hate spewed at last month’s rally “unfortunate and disappoint­ing.”

“We do not believe [the anti-Muslim] rhetoric is the sentiment of everyone in that area,” she said. “We know the people of Sheepshead Bay believe in diversity.”

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Reader Feedback

ok from B.Hurts, brooklyn says:
Now it is ok,, I can see what the reality is.

Muslims go ahead and enjoy the freedom of this country.

Your right , you deserve it..

let the hate evaporate,
July 23, 2010, 9:39 am
Mickey from Red Hook says:
I'm always curious when religious-themed projects like these arise, they always claim it will be a "community center" for "all to use."

What exactly are they going to offer for "all to use"? I know they list English as a second language instruction but does the community of Sheepshead Bay need one? Will it be more like the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan?
July 23, 2010, 10 am
Chaz from Bk says:
"All kinds of fatalities" due to traffic (and objections are ONLY about traffic)? Oh, enuf already.
July 23, 2010, 1:03 pm
j from sheepsheaad bay says:
so these people come to our country and kill us. we need to be politically correct? what has happened to this country!!! they love their religion so, go home!
July 23, 2010, 5:20 pm
Kimberly Smith from Bay Ridge says:
I disagree with the man saying that it is their "right" to build this center. It shoudl be considered like any other project - if a shopping center were to open and recieved this much protest, the project might go through, or might be cancelled. This project should be treated the same way. It doesn't matter if it's being built by muslims, christians, atheists, or corporations. Rules exist to serve everyone, and religion should block or help this project. What are the rules for building something which is a traffic disruption? What are the rules concerning community opposition to a new building project? If they are enought o block this, than block it. If they aren't, then let them build it. THere is nothing more to say. This is a country of laws - and the hyperbolic rhetoric of both sides only distracts from the actual matter at hand.
July 24, 2010, 6:19 am
to Kimberly from Brooklyn says:
You just get it...

Lwas serves all people,,,

Muslims need a place to served like other groups.

Well I think for you to biuld one family house will cause a traffic, wt all respect, Itlians, Muslims, Jews have many relative who visit, that will cause traffic no matter what..
This place will be used within walking distance.. No cars if any, it is a typical like any other building..
July 24, 2010, 3:23 pm
sandy from Sheepshead Bay says:
When the world trade center was attacked the Muslims on Neptune avenue and Bay Ridge stood in the street cheering the death of our Americans! A vision we will never forget!
Now they are planning to grow and infiltrate our beautiful country with terrorists, using the pretense of a peaceful existence. Wake up America before it is too late!
July 25, 2010, 11:09 am
Joe from Brooklyn says:
sandy, cut the bigotry and "wake up America" hate-spewing. it does NOTHING except make your "side" look more and more like hysterical bigots grasping at non-credible straws.

If you're gonna blame one group of muslims for what others did, you should protest all christian churches, due to some "christians' " support of white supremacy, the Okla City bombings, doctor-murders, the KKK, Nazis, neo-Nazi christian cults, pogroms, and the whole historic rest.
Doesn't matter if those churches weren't involved. The mere fact that they're christian should make them guilty. Right?
July 25, 2010, 1:41 pm
sandy from sheapshead bay says:
I just am a normal american - I love cold beer, I love our flag, I love to swallow my husband's penis, I love gay sex, I love pork - muslims hate all of these things. Their presence in sheapshead bay would only make my life more oppressed and less sensual.

So no, not right Joe from Brooklyn.

Please close these mega-mosques and mega shopping centers taht are turning our neighborhood into a charmless center for big ugly boxes. Maybe you would relate if you lived in our neighborhood, and were not in the wealthy landmarked neighborhoods of brookly which never have to worry about a disruption to their own place.

XXO,

Sandi
July 26, 2010, 7:46 am
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Freedom of religion. nuff sed.
July 26, 2010, 5:20 pm
Huy Morzhevyi from Kensington says:
Tom Tracy is a pimpled idiot!
July 30, 2010, 10:13 pm
to sandy from Brooklyn says:
First of all it spilled as

SHEEPSHEAD BAY not sheapshead bay

ufff

It proves you are from Arizona,,!!!!!!!!!!
not from the Sheepshead Bay ..

Am I right?

Go ahead Muslims with your project like others.. Why not...
Aug. 2, 2010, 12:01 am
Eddie from Sheepshead Bay says:
If something it's "spelled" not "spilled" great New Yorker!
Sept. 10, 2010, 11:41 am
BrooklynMan from SheephseadBay says:
Most of the muslims I see in stores are using Food Stamp cards, the ones I saw in line in Coney Island Hospital were holding medicaid cards. They are not needed in America at all. They are parasites. First a few muslims move in to your neighbourhood, then they build a mosque, and then as their leader wrote "all residents will flee the neighborhood and we'll buy their houses for cheap". That is their goal. They don't need a mosque. If they love their islam so much, they should have stayed in their filthy third world country. Instead they come here and incite religious and racial hatred. Hopefully with the collapse of US economy there will be more then a few citizens willing to physically deal with them when police and politicians will no longer be around.
Sept. 27, 2010, 10:11 pm
Amethyst from Bergen Beach says:
This religion does not belong in America. We (americans) do not want them. Muslims motto is to divide and conquer. They might be peaceful now but that's the plan. The ones who want them here will eat their words when the next terrorist strikes.
March 16, 2011, 2:52 am
Alan I from Bath Beach says:
I certainly don't harbor any bad feelings toward any religion, we have good and bad in every one of them, but the Mosque on Bath Ave. was supposed to be a youth center. How did it end up a church or mosque, and was tax money used for a "youth center" project?
April 6, 2011, 6:09 am
Jeejay from queens says:
i didnt know ppl hated us that much - :(
im going back to my country, but i was born in the U.S - where should i "go back"?
June 10, 2012, 9:13 pm
Pedro Mojon' from East New York says:
Muslims are not peaceful. The are laying "dormant" until the perfect opportunity to attack us and take us over. Don't be fooled by their "appearance" of being peaceful, it is merely a ploy. Resist, Fight & Rebel Muslim "Sharia Law" it is slowly replacing our constitution.
Jan. 1, 2016, 5:09 am

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