Neighbors react to plans on moving mosque into their neighborhoo - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Neighbors react to plans on moving mosque into their neighborhood

KENNESAW, GA (CBS46) -

A battle might be brewing in Cobb County.

In December 2014, there was controversy over a mosque in Kennesaw moving to a temporary location in a strip mall on Jiles Road. Now there are plans to move it about a half-mile down the road to Pine Mountain Road, and it's not sitting well with some neighbors.

The mosque would go in a wooded area surrounded by houses and an office park. None of the neighbors knew about the plans and they seem to have varying views.

"They've been very friendly," said Teresa Barnes, who manages Candy Man Inc. She says that so far, her eight-month neighbors, Masjid Suffah, have been as sweet as a piece of chocolate she was packing up during our interview. 

"Yes, you have your radical Muslims, but these people seem very nice [and] don't cause any problems," Barnes said.

But some in the community haven't always been cordial. Last winter, the mosque was at the center of controversy when it wanted to move into a strip mall. After the city council's original vote of no, Muslim residents threatened to sue the city for violating their first amendment right to freedom of religion. Later, council members reconsidered their vote and decided to approve the temporary location.

Now, there are plans to build a permanent mosque at a new location on Pine Mountain Road and there's a fund raising page setup to raise thousands of dollars to build the mosque near a residential community.

"I just don't want any kind of hate crime coming in," said neighbor Rickey Cole. "I think property value could go down because of that, and traffic could be a big issue because we already have horrible traffic on 41."

Jacqueline Waldon's property would also be in the shadow of the planned mosque. She's lived in Kennesaw for six decades and says, like husband's tomato and watermelon garden, the mosque would be a part of good growth for the neighborhood.

"Our church is outgrowing itself and we need a new place and I wouldn't want my neighbors to be offended by us building a church there, so I have no problem with them building the mosque there," Waldon said.

After a request for comment, the president of the mosque said he's talking with the board of directors and would get back to CBS46, but has yet to call us back.

They mayor of Kennesaw told CBS46 that so far, the city hasn't gotten any applications or zoning requests.

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