Opponents for the controversial mosque and community center slated for Voorhies Avenue are suing to stop construction, claiming that the building violates zoning laws and would become a nuisance to neighbors once it is built.
In court papers filed at New York State Supreme Court this week, lawyers for the anti-mosque group Bay People say that increased traffic and noisy calls to prayers need to be taken into account before the city signs off on the presently as-of-right project.
“[The mosque] is being constructed on a mid-block location that is surrounded by residences and, if and when completed, it would accommodate more than 300 people,” Attorney Albert Butzel wrote in his brief. “Calls to prayer would be broadcast five times a day, as is required in the Islamic religion, and both before and after services at the building, as well as at other times, the block on which it would be located would be backed up with vehicle traffic.”
Butzel claims that Mosque owner Ahmed Allowey is violating zoning law because he is not providing on-site parking for the mosque congregates. The lawsuit also claims that the ongoing construction is damaging neighboring buildings.
Allowey has yet to respond to the suit, and calls for comment were not returned.
The suit is the second legal salvo fired by the Bay People, whose watchful eyes on the project have already resulted in one stop-work order.
That was issued on Feb. 1, when city inspectors found a construction crew inside a shuttered elevator pit deemed too close to the adjoining property after members of the Bay People reported the infraction to the city.
Allowey is currently in negotiations with the city to get the order lifted.
The Bay People — which was created to stop the construction — has held repeated protests against the mosque, claiming that it will create a traffic nightmare for residents of the close-knit residential community.
Earlier protests against the mosque were laced with anti-Muslim sentiment, with some ralliers claiming that the Muslim American Society — which is slated to take over the operation of the community center once it’s built — has ties to terrorism.