Friday, August 19, 2016

16/10/09 TODAY Picture by Tal Cohen - 
 Muslims protest outside Geert Wilders press conference in central London 16 October 2009,  Wilders who faces prosecution in the Netherlands for anti-Islam remarks pays visit to the capital.  The Freedom Party leader said 'Lord Malcolm Pearson has invited me to come to the House of Lords to discuss our future plans to show Fitna the movie.' Wilders won an appeal on October 13 against a ban, enforced in February, from entering Britain. Ministers felt his presence would threaten public safety and lead to interfaith violence. (Photo by Tal Cohen)  All Rights Reserved – Tal Cohen - T: +44 (0) 7852 485 415 www.talcohen.net  
 Email: tal.c.photo@gmail.com
 Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.




FEATURED

Newton Commissioners put mosque, places of worship on hold

The five-week moratorium, proposed by District 1 Commissioner John Douglas, in whose district the mosque would be built, was designed to give the county’s planning staff time to review zoning provisions and the current trend toward “campus-style, multi-service facilities” for places of worship. The county’s current zoning ordinance allows places of worship in all zoning categories in the county, provided the project meets minimum requirements of the ordinance.
A capacity crowd of 500 people packed the Historic Courthouse Tuesday night in anticipation of the board’s discussion of the mosque and accompanying cemetery, which are proposed to be developed on 135 acres at Ga. Highway 162 and County Line Road. Although no public comment was allowed during the board’s discussion, Douglas went on to call for a public meeting on Monday, Aug. 22 where Douglas said all would be given a chance to speak.
“If we have to sit there all night, we owe it to them to hear their words,” Douglas said, drawing loud applause from the crowed in the meeting room.
The board approved Douglas’ motion calling for the public meeting 5-0. A location for the meeting has not yet been finalized.
Douglas told commissioners that the moratorium is in line with his previous opposition to “excessive development in the first district.” Douglas said he had opposed development of 1,500 houses in Stanton Springs, opposed the higher-density Autumn Trace subdivision on U.S. Highway 278, opposed expansion of a trucking terminal at the Hub Junction and delayed a decision on development of a regional ag center until a public meeting was held to answer neighbors’ questions.
“I have made it a point to work to keep the first district mostly rural and small town because the people who live in east and south Newton came here for that reason,” said Douglas. “There they love the quality of life we have in that area, the low crime rate, the lack of congestion and traffic and the ability just to get away from the big city when they go home.”
Residents in the area where the mosque has been proposed have said they are concerned about the increased noise and congestion that would come with the project. Plans for the 135-acre tract include 5 acres set aside for the mosque and another 10.5 acres allocated for the cemetery and a burial preparation accessory facility. The plan includes an additional 15 acres for future cemetery expansion, 28 acres for a future school operated by the church, 21 acres for residential uses, and 4.8 acres for open space.
Douglas also last week said he was greatly concerned that he and other commissioners were in the dark about plans for the mosque and related facilities, even though the land was sold to Al Maad Al Islami Inc., a Doraville non-profit organization, a year ago.
In response to questions from Douglas, County Manager Lloyd Kerr told commissioners that the mosque development proposal was presented to Development Services in June 2015 by attorney Phil Johnson. At that time, the place of worship was referred to as Avery Community Church and Cemetery. Kerr said Development Services was not aware that the project was a mosque and not a community church until county officials met with the project engineer on Aug. 8.
Al Maad Al Islami purchased the property, which is comprised of two tracts, from Neely Farms Family Limited Partnership in August 2015 for $675,000. The organization already owns and operates a mosque and school on Woodwin Road in Doraville.
A letter of intent from Neely Farms Family dated May 28, 2015, outlined plans for the property. According to the letter, the site plan “reflects a future school site for a church operated school when the church is strong enough to accommodate such an addition.”
Kerr has said that adding a school to the site would require a conditional use permit from Development Services.
When the five-week moratorium is up, Douglas said he expects the board will either have an ordinance amendment to consider, the moratorium could be extended or it will be allowed to expire.

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Brush up on Mosques via:

What Happened in Kennesaw, Ga when a Mosque Wanted To Open?
http://suffadawatcenter.blogspot.com/

The Resulting Federal Suit against the City of Kennesaw:
http://suffadawatsuit.blogspot.com/ 

Mosque Controversy in Georgia
http://www.jurist.org/hotline/2015/01/azadeh-shahshahani-mosque-controversy.php

Controversies Over Mosques and Islamic Centers Across the U.S. - Sept. 27, 2012: 
http://www.pewforum.org/files/2012/09/2012Mosque-Map.pdf

How Do You Start A Mosque?
http://www.masjidhamzah.com/Documents/How-to-Start-a-Masjid.pdf

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County manager issues statement on proposed mosque

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COVINGTON — A Doraville non-profit organization that has purchased land in Newton County for the purpose of developing a mosque and cemetery has not yet submitted any plans to the county’s Development Services Department.
County Manager Lloyd Kerr issued a statement Monday on the proposed development to answer citizens’ questions about the proposed development and possibly calm some concerns.
Kerr outlined the process that the project will be required to follow in order for development to begin.
“To date, the applicant has not submitted plans to Newton County Development Services for review,” Kerr wrote. “Once an applicant submits plans, they are reviewed by various county departments and divisions such as Engineering, Transportation, Planning and Zoning, Fire Services and applicable state agencies. The review process ensures the county meets federal and state requirements and follows local ordinances and laws. Once plans are approved, the county issues permits and construction begins.”
Because places of worship are allowed in all zoning categories in the county, provided the project meets minimum requirements of the zoning ordinance, the development will not be required to go through the rezoning process.
The non-profit Al Maad Al Islami Inc. purchased 135 acres off Ga. Highway 162 south of Porterdale a year ago. Preliminary conceptual plans for the project show 5 acres set aside for the mosque and another 10.5 acres allocated for the cemetery and a burial preparation accessory facility. The plan includes an additional 15 acres for future cemetery expansion, 28 acres for a future school operated by the church, 21 acres for residential uses, and 4.8 acres for open space. The property is located at the northwest intersection of Ga. Highway 162 and County Line Road.
Kerr explained on Monday that Development Services had followed correct procedures and “has not attempted to withhold information from the public. Similar project inquiries are routine and applicants typically do not move forward to submit plans or obtain development permits.”
Kerr said the county will take into account public concerns, as well as the rights of people to worship.
“As a county, we understand the public’s concern regarding a development of this size and the impact it may have on surrounding neighborhoods,” Kerr said. “The right to practice one’s faith is protected by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which prohibits local governments from burdening citizens desiring to use land for purposes of worship with regulations not required of other similar land uses. Should this project move forward, the county pledges to work with the developers to protect the interests of our citizens to the best extent possible.”
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FEATURED

Reaction to mosque plan mostly critical

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Although the 135-acre tract on Ga. Highway 162 where the mosque and related facilities are planned was purchased about a year ago by Al Maad Al Islami Inc., the news of the planned development caught many by surprise. Postings on social media and the Citizen website were largely in opposition to the development.
District 1 Commissioner John Douglas, in whose district the development is planned, said he had been receiving phone calls and emails since the Citizen posted a story about the project on its website Tuesday evening.
“I’ve got some unhappy campers out there,” Douglas said Wednesday. “All the emails I’ve gotten this morning have been negative for various and sundry reasons.”
Preliminary conceptual plans for the project show 5 acres set aside for the mosque and another 10.5 acres allocated for the cemetery and a burial preparation accessory facility. The plan includes an additional 15 acres for future cemetery expansion, 28 acres for a future school operated by the church, 21 acres for residential uses, and 4.8 acres for open space. The property is located at the northwest intersection of Ga. Highway 162 and County Line Road.
Douglas said his biggest concern was the fact that commissioners had not been notified in advance that a potentially controversial project was planned.
“I had no idea at all that this was in the works,” Douglas said. “I talked to (County Attorney) Megan Martin this morning and she says that — as I understand it — churches may be exempt from having to be approved by us for zoning.”
In fact, Newton County Zoning Administrator Judy Johnson said Tuesday that churches are permitted uses in all zoning districts in the county, as long as the developer has an approved administrative use permit. A cemetery is also a permitted use on the property.
Douglas said that ordinance should be changed for future developments.
Chairman Keith Ellis said he was also caught off guard by the provision that allows churches in all zoning districts.
“As news broke concerning this Muslim development, I was surprised to find that zoning changes would not be made,” Ellis said. “The board may have to address a conditional use permit (for a proposed school on the site). Given the opportunity, if it is constitutional, I would oppose the request. My first knowledge of the development led me to the Tax Assessor’s website. There I found who the previous owners had been. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Money talks!”
Al Maad Al Islami already owns a mosque and school on Woodwin Road in Doraville. It was not clear if the Newton County project is an expansion or a relocation for the organization. Attempts by the Citizen to reach a representative of Al Maad Al Islami have been unsuccessful.
Douglas said he has other concerns, as well.
“The first question that comes to my mind is if there are enough Muslims in south Newton County that we need to build not only a mosque but a community, a school and what all is in the plan,” said Douglas, “would building those things make us a prime area for the federal government to resettle refugees from the Middle East? So I do have some concerns, like the people who live down there.”
“For 16 years we’ve been able to look across the street and see nothing but woods,” he said.
Dimsdale, whose uncle Ronnie Dimsdale is a former Newton commissioner, said he had done some online research on Al Maad Al Islami and learned that neighbors in DeKalb County have had complaints about noise, traffic and code violations that went unresolved.
Like Douglas, Dimsdale said he also was concerned that the project had gotten this far along without public knowledge.
“I know before you even get permission to build something of that magnitude, you are going to deliberate over your taxes, your electricity, your water … somebody at the county knew about this months ago and it’s just now coming to light at a point where it’s almost unstoppable,” he said.
Al Maad Al Islami purchased the proposed site of the mosque in August 2015 for about $1.3 million from Neely Farms Family Limited Partnership. Covington attorney Phil Johnson, former Democrat candidate for commission chairman, is listed as the partnership’s registered agent.
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From: Harris2016@aol.com
To: 
CC: alice.queen@rockdalecitizen.com

Sent: 8/17/2016 1:01:43 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Subj: Mosque and Cemetery in Newton County

Below are blog sites that will give you information on what the City of Kennesaw and the residents of the area had to deal with, and are still dealing with, regarding a store front Mosque in the City.

The recent Rockdale Citizen article did not mention the names of those representing the Mosque for your area, but as just a guess, that community has a certain number of activists and you may find their names among those we had to deal with here in Kennesaw. 

In other words there are some individuals who like to stir up problems.
As a general comment, I would say that with the current configuration of the Dept of Justice, those pushing for Mosques and demanding their ‘rights’ are probably going to end up on the winning side.  If they end up in the Federal Courts they usually ‘win’.

Good luck with your issues.


Bill Harris
Citizen Journalist


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Nonprofit plans to build mosque on Ga. Highway 162 in Newton County

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Al Maad Al Islami Inc. has received administrative approval for construction of a place of worship, to be called Avery Community Church, on 135.168 acres located across Highway 162 from Avery Place subdivision. The property, located at the northwest intersection of County Line Road and Highway 162, is zoned agricultural residential and no rezoning is needed for construction of the house of worship or the cemetery.
“A place of worship is allowed in all zoning districts with an approved administrative use permit showing the property can meet the provisions of Sec. 510-480 of the Newton County Zoning Ordinance,” said Judy T. Johnson, zoning administrator for Newton County Development Services. Johnson said the cemetery is also a permitted use on the property.
Al Maad Al Islami purchased the property, which is comprised of two tracts, from Neely Farms Family Limited Partnership in August 2015 for about $1.3 million. The organization already owns a mosque and school on Woodwin Road in Doraville.
Preliminary conceptual plans for the project show 5 acres set aside for the mosque and another 10.5 acres allocated for the cemetery and a burial preparation accessory facility. The plan includes an additional 15 acres for future cemetery expansion, 28 acres for a future school operated by the church, 21 acres for residential uses, and 4.8 acres for open space.
A letter of intent from Neely Farms Family dated May 28, 2015, outlines plans for the property. According to the letter, the site plan “reflects a future school site for a church operated school when the church is strong enough to accommodate such an addition.”A conditional use permit will be required in order for the church to open a school.
The letter of intent further states that “initial access to the church site will be from County Line Road. At such time as the church is able to expand operations, a curb cut will be sought from the Georgia Department of Transportation for access onto Ga. Highway 162.”
The letter also stipulates that 50-foot buffers will be put in place along all property boundaries and all active recreation fields will be at least 100 feet from any boundary line.
Calls to Al Maad Al Islami seeking information on the project were not returned Tuesday. However, Paul Oglesby with Georgia Civil, an engineering firm in Madison, said the project is in the construction drawing phase. He said it typically takes about six months to get all permits in place, and he expected construction would begin at about that time.

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FEATURED

Residents at BOC meeting state why they oppose proposed mosque


COVINGTON — The long line of citizens waiting to get through the metal detector snaked down the courthouse steps, across the alley and on down Clark Street toward the Ramsey Furniture annex.
A throng of 500 people showed up for the regular bi-monthly meeting of the Newton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday at the Historic County Courthouse. That most came to protest a proposed mosque and Muslim community on Ga. Highway 162 in southern Newton was readily apparent.
The second-floor former courtroom, site of the BOC meeting, was packed with a boisterous standing-room-only crowd. At least 100 people strained to listen through open doors in the two upstairs hallways and another 100 or more waited in the first-floor lobby, restrained by sheriff’s deputies from ascending the stairways to witness the action.
The crowd that squeezed into the courtroom loudly applauded and cheered when District 1 Commissioner John Douglas — who represents the neighborhood of the proposed mosque — said, “We must allow the citizens of Newton County to speak to us. If we have to sit here all night we owe it to them to hear their words.”
When discussion ensued on Douglas’ motion that the board schedule a special meeting to hear public comments on the mosque, various audience members shouted from the balcony, “Need a bigger place,” “How are you going to fit us all in?” “People are standing in the hallways!” “How about the football stadium?”
A horde of onlookers stampeded out of the building after board Chairman Keith Ellis announced — to applause — that the special meeting would be held on Aug. 22, although the location is now in question.
Standing in an upper hallway during the meeting, Lisa White said she lives about 5 miles from the proposed mosque property and declared she and her husband will be moving if the mosque is built.
“I don’t like my kids growing up in an area like that,” she said. “I’m not against the religion. I don’t believe that all Muslims are bad. But the good ones would still be infiltrated by the bad ones. It’s hundreds of families that are going to be moving.”
“Why was it kept such a secret?” said White’s friend, Angie Gospie, who also lives in the area of the proposed mosque. The letter of intent to develop the mosque was filed with the county in 2015, but the proposal didn’t become known to the public until last week.
After leaving the courthouse, Mike Faulkner echoed that sentiment. He and Porterdale official Willie Milligan, who owns property “a stone’s throw” from the mosque, both said they heard about the mosque plan via Facebook posts.
“That’s how I found out about it yesterday,” Milligan said. “Why was there so much going on under the table?”
Faulkner referred to County Manager Lloyd Kerr’s statement to the board that the original mosque proposal presented to the county labeled the development “Avery Community Church.”
“They used deception on the application. That’s enough to disqualify them right there,” he said.
Faulkner and others cited increased traffic and other activities — such as calls to prayer over a public address system — in the mosque community as troublesome issues for current residents.
“My main concern is the traffic and everything that’s going to go with it. There’s a lot of concern about the noise and traffic,” Faulkner said.
Some individuals mentioned lawsuits claiming ordinance violations in DeKalb County against a mosque run by the nonprofit organization that purchased the 135-acre tract in Newton, Al Maad Al Islami Inc.
“It’s all shadowy,” Draper said. “If they move into the neighborhood, the community never will be the same. With all good intentions — but it seems to be a breeding ground for terrorists.”
His wife, Celine Draper, questioned whether it is legal to permit the proposed community to be available only for muslims.
“How can you have an entire residential area and not be open to the public? That’s discriminatory. That’s Fair Housing Act material,” she said.
Not all present were certifiably against the mosque. The Rev. Jonathan Scharf, pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in south Newton, said he came to hear the information from all sides.
“I was just curious about what the commission’s discussion on the mosque would be like,” Scharf said. “Being the pastor of a church in the area, I thought it would be good to hear what is the known information about what it is rather than just jump to conclusions. I’m not for the mosque or anything, but I think we should hear the facts.”
“I was happy to hear that there was going to be a mosque built in Newton County,” Newton resident Sarah Dauby told the commissioners during public comments as the meeting stumbled to a close far into the night.
“I was raised Roman Catholic in Middle Georgia, where Protestant preachers preached on a regular basis against the Catholic Church, so I have been a minority that has been oppressed. … I think that this is a private land deal. It didn’t need to come to public notice,” Dauby said.
“And if you go any place where there are church bells, do we monitor the loudness of the church bells?” she added. “We don’t need to worry about the calls to prayer. Eventually, they will be just a part of the day, and you won’t even notice them.”
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16/10/09 TODAY Picture by Tal Cohen - 
 Muslims protest outside Geert Wilders press conference in central London 16 October 2009,  Wilders who faces prosecution in the Netherlands for anti-Islam remarks pays visit to the capital.  The Freedom Party leader said 'Lord Malcolm Pearson has invited me to come to the House of Lords to discuss our future plans to show Fitna the movie.' Wilders won an appeal on October 13 against a ban, enforced in February, from entering Britain. Ministers felt his presence would threaten public safety and lead to interfaith violence. (Photo by Tal Cohen)  All Rights Reserved – Tal Cohen - T: +44 (0) 7852 485 415 www.talcohen.net  
 Email: tal.c.photo@gmail.com
 Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.
16/10/09 TODAY Picture by Tal Cohen - 
 Muslims protest outside Geert Wilders press conference in central London 16 October 2009,  Wilders who faces prosecution in the Netherlands for anti-Islam remarks pays visit to the capital.  The Freedom Party leader said 'Lord Malcolm Pearson has invited me to come to the House of Lords to discuss our future plans to show Fitna the movie.' Wilders won an appeal on October 13 against a ban, enforced in February, from entering Britain. Ministers felt his presence would threaten public safety and lead to interfaith violence. (Photo by Tal Cohen)  All Rights Reserved – Tal Cohen - T: +44 (0) 7852 485 415 www.talcohen.net  
 Email: tal.c.photo@gmail.com
 Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.

As an individual, who grew up in a rural/urban county, the advantages of small town living were taken for granted. When references the county as being “rural/urban,” I am referring to being close enough to a major city to take advantage of convenience, such as an international airport and major shopping centers, while retaining a rural lifestyle — where large yards and farm animals dotted the landscape, intermingled with a few housing developments. Everyone shopped on the Square on Saturday, then attended church in town on Sunday. It was almost a given you saw someone you knew. And, it was about a certainty that whatever you did made it back to your parents before you got back home.

After college and getting married, I left the small town in exchange for a few moves due to a spouse in military service. But, when the time in service was completed, we settled back down in the small town where both grew up. Not a lot had changed in those few years. But the decades that have followed have taken its toll on the once little small town where everyone knew everyone else and the Square was the place to shop on Saturdays.

The “old guards” of the once tight-knit community are gone. A more cosmopolitan approach surfaced resulting in various large industries being located here. Shopping strip malls sprang up along the main highway. The town became a virtual Hollywood hot spot for movie crews to film everything from TV shows to feature length films. Today, one can hardly walk the Square without encountering some film crew filming something.
While some change can be good, too much change can be disastrous. Generations of families who have lived a certain way for decades have faced watching their town become more of a commodity to be traded to the highest bidder at the expense of rural/urban living. Once again, change is coming to this little county that will forever change its face and lifestyle. The little county is Newton County, Georgia. And, soon, the residents of this county will be faced with an Islamic compound sitting in its southwest corner.

In August of 2015, a Doraville, Georgia, nonprofit, Al Maad Al Islami, Inc. d/b/a Masjid At-Taqwa, purchased a 135-acre tract along GA. Highway 162 for $1.3 million dollars from the Neely Farms Family Limited Partnership, whose registered agent happens to be Covington attorney and former Democrat candidate for the county board of commissioners’ chairman, Phil Johnson. The edited DOT road map of Newton County, Georgia indicates the possible location outlined in red. The organization has already been a defendant in a 2013 court case in DeKalb County, Georgia for numerous violations and infringements on another resident’s property, in the form of storm run- off, sanitary sewer water flows from activities at the facility resulting in accumulation of noxious orders as well as numerous county ordinance violation include noise. A record of the land acquisition is available at the Tax Assessors website.

Prior to the sale of the land, Neely Farms Family drafted a letter of intent on May 28, 2015, outlining the plans for the property. The letter stated, “the site plan ‘reflects a future school site for a church [mosque] operated school when the church [mosque] is strong enough to accommodate such an addition.'” The letter also stated that “‘initial access to the church [mosque] site will be from County Line Road. At such time as the church [mosque] is able to expand operations, a curb cut will be sought from the Georgia Department of Transportation for access onto Ga. Highway 162.'”
According to zoning administrator for Newton County, Judy Johnson, the organization is not required to be rezoned since “places of worship” are allowed in all zoning districts under Sec. 510-480 of the Newton County Zoning Ordinance, meaning the zoning of the property as agricultural residential can remain. However, a conditional use permit is required by the county for the “church [mosque] to open a school.”

According to the article in the Rockdale Citizens, the project indicates that 5 acres will be reserved for the mosque, 10.5 acres allotted for the cemetery and burial preparation accessory facility, 15 acres for future cemetery expansion, 28 acres for the mosque operated school. 21 acres for residential space, and 4.8 acres alloted for “open space.” Adding the numbers totals a sum of usage of 84.3 acres, meaning there is 50.7 acres of land without a designated use.

The Rockdale Citizen reports:
The letter also stipulates that 50-foot buffers will be put in place along all property boundaries and all active recreation fields will be at least 100 feet from any boundary line.
Calls to Al Maad Al Islami seeking information on the project were not returned Tuesday. However, Paul Oglesby with Georgia Civil, an engineering firm in Madison, said the project is in the construction drawing phase. He said it typically takes about six months to get all permits in place, and he expected construction would begin at about that time.
This past Wednesday, the Newton Citizen reported that news of this “community” was spreading through the county and reached the ears of the commissioner in whose district the community was to be located, John Douglas. Douglas, once the Citizen published its article, received numerous phone calls and emails.

Douglas stated, “I’ve got some unhappy campers out there. All the emails I’ve gotten this morning have been negative for various and sundry reasons.” He told the Citizen “his biggest concern was the fact the county Board of Commissioners had not been notified in advance that a potentially controversial project was planned.”

The news of the project caught many by surprise. Moreover, the social media postings and those on the Citizen website have not been positive, expressing opposition to the development.
The Newton Citizen continued its report:
“I had no idea at all that this was in the works,” Douglas said. “I talked to (County Attorney) Megan Martin this morning and she says that — as I understand it — churches may be exempt from having to be approved by us for zoning.”
In fact, Newton County Zoning Administrator Judy Johnson said Tuesday that churches are permitted uses in all zoning districts in the county, as long as the developer has an approved administrative use permit. A cemetery is also a permitted use on the property.
Douglas said that ordinance should be changed for future developments.
Chairman Keith Ellis said he was also caught off guard by the provision that allows churches in all zoning districts.
“As news broke concerning this Muslim development, I was surprised to find that zoning changes would not be made,” Ellis said. “The board may have to address a conditional use permit (for a proposed school on the site). Given the opportunity, if it is constitutional, I would oppose the request. My first knowledge of the development led me to the Tax Assessor’s website. There I found who the previous owners had been. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Money talks!”
Commissioner Douglas voice other concerns as well. “The first question that comes to my mind is if there are enough Muslims in south Newton County that we need to build not only a mosque but a community, a school and what all is in the plan, would building those things make us a prime area for the federal government to resettle refugees from the Middle East? So I do have some concerns, like the people who live down there.”

And, that is the million dollar question – Will establishing this Muslim development in Newton County spark an insurgence of illegal alien Muslim invaders from the Middle East, Africa and who knows where else courtesy of the federal government? However, a more pressing question to ask is “who is this Al Maad Al Islami, Inc., that has a mosque and school at 2674 Woodwin Road, Doraville, Georgia, 30360?”

According to Bizpedia, the registered agent is Tarun Ahmed, who uses the same address as the mosque. The contacts listed for Al Maad Al Islami consists of Kawsar Ahmed, Lilburn, Georgia; Tarun Ahmed, Doraville, Georgia; and Mohammad Islam, Doraville, Georgia. All the information sites related to nonprofit organizations had very little information on the organization other that what is listed at Bizpedia. A search of each of the names produces numerous entries none of which could be narrowed down. The search of Mohammed Islam produced numerous results all over the nation and some abroad. Listings were present in Texas; Brooklyn, NY; Connecticut, Michigan, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

Since the organization was listed in court documents as doing business as Masjid At-Taqwa, a search of this term netted interesting results. It just so happens that Masjid At-Taqwa has organizations/facilities in Texas; Brooklyn, NY; Connecticut, Michigan, the UK, Canada and New Zealand – the same as Mohammad Islam. And, the Imam of Masjid At-Taqwa of New York happens to be Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted coconspirator in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Siraj is also notorious for his advocacy of an Islamic State here in the united States.

The Board of Commissioners for Newton County were sent an email detailing the research done on Al Maad Al Islami, with appropriate internet links provided. District 1 Commissioner John Douglas issued a prompt response. In his response, Mr. Douglas indicated the project was presented as the Avery Community Church and cemetery when it went to the county zoning office.

Mr. Douglas was presented with several follow-up questions which he stated he would work to try and obtain the answers. However, Mr. Douglas did indicate that nothing goes through the county commissioners on zoning until they have to approve it.
Another issue that has been blurred in this entire scenario is a church is not the same thing as a mosque. Now, a mosque could be considered a “place of worship,” but it is not a church. All in all the letter sent by the Neely Farms Family Partnership Limited has been reported to represent the project as the Avery Community Church and cemetery, which was sent to the county zoning office three months prior to the sale. Considering the project changed from a church and cemetery to a mosque, school, residential use project, a new letter from the registered agent, Phil Johnson, for the Neely Farms Family Partnership Limited, would seem to be in order because of the change in the nature of the project. Mr. Johnson was certainly aware of the identity of the purchaser of the property. And, more than likely, was privy to the nature of the construction planned. To claim otherwise would be absurd since prior to the sale the Neely Farms Family Partnership Limited presented the construction of a community church and cemetery to the zoning office.


A community church and cemetery is a far cry and away from an islamic compound, which this has every initial indication of becoming.

Since it a revised letter was not sent, this could be considered an act of deception to hide the extensive nature of the project in a vastly rural, residential, agricultural community when considering the purchaser, the nature of the project, the previous court case involving Al Maad Al Islami, along with the ties to Masjid At-Taqwa. No one involved in this “project” design and implementation, including the sale of the land, can claim, “I didn’t know.” Furthermore, lack of full disclosure should bar this entire development from occurring. If not, residents in the vicinity of the “compound” can look forward to increased traffic, violations of the noise ordinance, as well as violations of other county ordinances for which Al Maad Al Islami d/b/a Masjid At-Taqwa has been sued in DeKalb County Court. Instead of waking up to the rooster’s call, residents will be afforded the luxury of hearing the Islamic morning call to prayer – “the sweetest sound known” according to Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Soebarkah – should efforts to halt this project fail.

The county Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, at which time Mr. Douglas will bring up the issue of the potential of an Islamic compound being constructing in our county. Hopefully, the answers to some questions will be forthcoming.


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RELIGION

NJ town rocked by charges of bigotry after rejection of mosque

NOW PLAYING
Focus on mosques in America intensified
A New Jersey suburb known for its tree-lined streets and stately, multimillion-dollar homes has been transformed into a battleground over both a proposed mosque and the free speech rights of residents who oppose the project.
Bernards, a township of about 27,000 an hour west of New York City, has been cleaved by controversy since 2011, when its Planning Board took up a proposal for a 4,250-square-foot mosque in a residential neighborhood known as Liberty Corner. The applicant, Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, is led by a former Bernards mayor and has filed a federal civil rights suit accusing members of the board of religious discrimination in ultimately rejecting the project.
Some 33 residents who spoke out against the project at dozens of public meetings have been subpoenaed in an effort by the plaintiffs to prove bigotry drove the decision.
"This is a land use matter. It never was about religion,” current Bernards Mayor Carol Bianchi told FoxNews.com. “Anyone who takes the time to review the transcripts or knows our Planning Board members would draw this conclusion quickly.”
The Planning Board and many residents say they were concerned about traffic and other zoning issues, but the lawsuit accuses town officials of violating theReligious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which gives religious institutions flexibility when it comes to zoning law restrictions on property use. The U.S. Department of Justice is separatley investigating the case.
The Islamic group has won the support of several civil and religious liberty advocates, including the ACLU, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Muslim Advocates, a San Francisco-based legal and educational advocacy group.
“I came to America almost 50 years ago with a firm belief in the values that America represents, including freedom of religion before the law,” Mohammad Ali Chaudry told The Bernardsville News after the Becket Fund filed a brief in support of his group. “The mosque is part of my American Dream.”
Lawyers for the Muslim organization want to interview residents who spoke out against the mosque, and to review their email messages, social media posts and any other evidence they say may prove they were motivated by bias.
The seeds of the controversy were planted in November of 2011, when the ISBR purchased nearly 4 acres in the quiet neighborhood and then applied five months later to build the mosque, complete with a prayer hall and, ultimately, 107 parking spaces. The proposed mosque was denied by the Planning Board last December following numerous public hearings over the course of more than three years.
“What should have been a simple board approval for a permitted use devolved into a Kafkaesque process that spanned an unprecedented four years and included 39 public hearings,” reads a section of the complaint. “These proceedings took place against a backdrop of ugly spectacle.”
The plaintiffs, who filed suit March 10, allege that the ISBR and its head, Chaudry, a Pakistani-born, longtime local resident who served as mayor of Bernards Township in 2004, faced “intense hostility” from residents who opposed not only the proposed Islamic center, but the religion of Islam. They say their opponents, including Bernards Township Citizens for Responsible Development, recruited “objectors” to attend the public hearings and speak out against the project, with careful instructions to avoid words that might betray their real motivation.
“This community opposition evolved into a well-funded machine that recruited objectors and coached them to channel their opposition through the permissible language of land use: parking, buffer and screening requirements, storm water management, and so on,” they say in their civil complaint.
The lawsuit lists examples of anti-Muslim bias, including vandalism of an ISBR mailbox and comments posted on social media. It also accused the citizens’ group of holding a meeting where those preparing to speak out were told, “Please remember, do not make any comments on the religion or Islamic mosque itself. If we do so, we will lose the battle.”
Based on those allegations, the ISBR’s lawyers subpoenaed the residents as well as eight current and former Planning Board members. One resident who was subpoenaed told FoxNews.com attorneys for ISBR seemed to be seeking evidence of a conspiracy. The resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meeting was unnerving.
“I spoke out once, at one meeting,” the resident said. “I was tangentially involved. I clearly felt like it was a fishing expedition, that they were looking to find anything to support their case.
“For me, this has a chilling effect,” the resident added. “It was scary. They came to my home in the middle of the night to serve me the papers. I feel like I will never speak up in a public forum again.”
Bianchi blasted the tactics of ISBR and its lawyers from the prominent New York firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.
“These tactics are un-American and violate First Amendment rights,” Bianchi said. “They are an attempt to bully and harass the community and township into settling the matter on plaintiffs' terms without regard to proper land use concerns, especially safety.”
Officials for neither ISBR nor its legal team responded to requests for comment. The Department of Justice confirmed it is probing the case separately, but declined to provide details.
Bianchi said she is troubled not only by the investigation, but also by a key federal prosecutor’s association with Chaudry. Caroline Sadlowski, chief of the Civil Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, serves with Chaudry on Drew University’s 14-member Center for Religion and Cultural Conflicts.
The mayor added that she feels let down by Chaudry’s accusations.
“This community elected Mr. Chaudry to the Township Committee after 9/11 and made him the first Pakistani Muslim mayor in the nation,” Bianchi said. “I am disappointed that [he] would call this community, which has always embraced him, bigots.”

Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at@perrych

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COMMENTARY: Attorney Johnson provides details on land sale

“I was not present at the Tuesday night BOC meeting but I was informed of a series of questions John Douglas asked Lloyd Kerr about the mosque property. One of the questions was when Lloyd had become aware that the Avery Community Church, Cemetery and School became more than that. Lloyd’s answer was that he had learned one week ago. That leaves the clear implication that first there was misinformation supplied by me (since John Douglas had specifically used my name) and that Lloyd had only been disabused of that misinformation one week ago. Giving Lloyd the benefit of the doubt that indeed he did not know the nature of the application for the AUP which was submitted in June of 2015 since he was not personally present at either of the two meetings I had with the Department of Development Services at that time, the troublesome aspect of the exchange is that it gave the impression that the department was misled, which is blatantly inaccurate.
To clear up any confusion which exists as to the sequence of events, I have put together the following information from my notes and communication:
“1) I have represented the Neely Family for nearly 25 years, first representing Ted Neely and since his passing his family and its ownership entities; and
“2) In early 2015, the Neely family asked me to become involved in negotiating a real estate sales contract with a commercial real estate agent named Al Taf of the Atlanta real estate brokerage company of Marcus and Millichaps who had responded to an advertisement on Craig’s List offering for sale a 135 acre tract located at County Line Road and Ga Hwy 162 in Newton County, Georgia (always referred to us as the “Avery Tract” since Ted Neely had purchased this property from the Avery family); and
“3) I proceeded to negotiate with Mr. Taf who informed me he represented a corporation whose directors were professionals and business men in Atlanta of East Asian (Indian) descent of the Muslim faith who were looking for a site to locate a cemetery; and
“4) The purchaser was represented by an old Atlanta attorney who I had worked with several times during the last thirty-five years in commercial real estate transactions; and
“5) The purchaser made a full price cash offer and the offer was reduced to a sales contract dated March 13, 2015 which was accepted by the Seller and the Purchaser; and
“6) At the request of the Neely Family I checked the name of the corporation which would be the Purchaser with the Georgia Secretary of State’s records and found the corporation in good standing with officers and registered agent from north Atlanta; and
“7) The contract provided that the sale was contingent on the approval of the use of the property as a cemetery, body preparation facility and a church by the appropriate officials of Newton County Department of Development Services pursuant to a conceptual plan to be provided by the purchaser; and
“8) I contacted the Newton County Department of Development Services to ascertain the Newton County requirements for a house of worship, cemetery and church affiliated school, and was provided a “Checklist for Establishing or Expanding a Place of Worship” ; and
“9) The first paragraph of the checklist (Section 105 Definitions) defines Place of Worship as “A lot or building wherein persons assemble for religious worship. It goes on to state that “the term shall also include any of the following: cathedral, chapel, church, synagogue, temple, mosque, tabernacle and other similar terms.”; and
“10) Section 510-480 as noted on the checklist provides the site must be a minimum of 4.0 acres and list accessory uses permitted including a cemetery; and
“11) I scheduled a meeting with the Department of Development Services and went over the requirements of the checklist and the applicable code sections including Section 510-150 regarding cemeteries which provides that the cemetery site shall be a minimum of 10 acres; and
“12) Based upon the applicable requirements of the ordinance and the checklist and the requirements of the contract that a survey be obtained by the Purchaser, the Purchaser engaged an engineering firm to survey the property and to obtain from a professional land use planner a conceptual plan reflecting the anticipated use of the property ( a copy of which conceptual plan is attached hereto); and
“13) With the completed survey and the conceptual plan, the seller, as owner of the property, submitted A Petition for Administrative Use Permit for the House of Worship and the Cemetery, which are terms of art in that they tract the exact language of the County ordinance and the checklist earlier provided by the Department of Development Services ( a copy of which Petition for Administrative Use Permit is attached hereto); and
“14) I personally delivered the Petition for Administrative Use Permit to the Department of Development Services and discussed the accessory use to the cemetery to ensure that a burial preparation facility as noted on the conceptual plan was in fact permitted under the use. We specifically discussed the fact that no embalming would take place in the burial preparation facility because of the customs and practices of the Islamic faith, which did not provide for embalming of the deceased”; and
“15) The original Administrative Use Permit Case number AUP15-000235 (a copy of which is attached hereto) dated June 10, 2015, was emailed to me and I forwarded the same to the agent for the purchaser; and
16) I received comments back from the agent for the purchaser which I then forwarded in the form of an email with requests for changes or clarifications to the Department of Development Services at 6:50 pm on 6/15/2015 ( a copy of the email is attached hereto with the addressee at the Department of Development Services redacted); and
“17) Attached to the email to the Department of Development Services was a copy of Form Letter 947 from the Internal Revenue Service to AL MADD AL ISLAMI INC. confirming their tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code with a request that the AUP be issued to AL MADD AL ISLAMI INC as the purchaser of the property; and
“18) On June 16, 2015, a revised AUP15-000235 was issued to AL MADD AL ISLAMI INC. Aka Avery Community Church with the other requested clarification on the cemetery and the burial preparation facility by the Department of Development Services; and
“19) On Aug. 26, 2015, the sale of the 135.168 acres by closed on behalf of the purchaser by Talley & Associates of Conyers, Georgia; and
“The only significance of item 20 is to show that inaccurate, poorly researched and little understood items reported are taken as the gospel and repeated throughout the discussion on social media.
“Far more important in this discussion is the inference by Lloyd that the Department of Development Services was misled, and that they only learned of the facts within the last week. The AUP was actually issued to AL MADD AL ISLAMI INC when corrected by my email to the Department of Development Services to ensure that they issued in the correct name. The department was fully informed as to the faith of the church and those to be buried in the cemetery, as well as the nature of the burial process according to the customs and practices of the Islamic faith.
“While, as I noted above, Lloyd may not have had personal knowledge of the details, he clearly could have reviewed the file, and discovered everything noted above. His answer to John’s obvious set up question to indict me for misrepresentation acquiesced in John’s mischief and grandstanding. What is baffling is why Lloyd participated in this charade.
“The truth of the matter is that the Department of Development Services could have taken no other action than the approval of the Administrative Use Permit under its own ordinance which clearly provides that the term House of Worship in its code includes every conceivable religious house of worship in its definition including specifically a mosque.
“And the language in the Newton County Ordinance is not there by accident. If the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution were not clear enough on the point, the provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 is, and the act is not one passed by a liberal left. It was introduced by Senator Warren Hatch of Utah, a fairly well credentialed conservative, and passed both houses of Congress unanimously.
“So it would appear that the more honest approach for Lloyd in his answer, and John and the other members of the BOC in their subsequent actions, would have been to tell the attendees at the Tuesday night meeting of the BOC that the correct action had been taken because it was the law. If the BOC wants to make it more onerous to obtain a permit for a church in the future they can do so but only with the understanding that it will apply to the Baptist and the Methodist as well as the Islamic and Hindu houses of worship.
“Intellectual dishonesty, disingenuous comments to play to the bias of a portion of the public and gross misrepresentation of the facts clearly are not strong attributes of leadership. The suggestion that it is OK to infer some possible different outcome by a five-week moratorium so that the public will forget, or as has been said, to let some air get out of the balloon, is so cynical in its view of the public and the responsibility of leadership as to be offensive
“Finally, the comments which suggest the Neely family did anything despicable by selling their land to a willing buyer at a reasonable price for a use specifically permitted under the Newton County Ordinances is ridiculous. I remember two years ago many of us, including many now attacking the Neely family, joined to fight against what we felt an unreasonable infringement of the right of a property owner to control his own property during the 2050 Plan discussion. Do principles mean nothing? Is it truly a matter of whose ox is the one getting gored?
“For the chairman of the Newton County Board of Commissioners to say in a comment to the Newton Citizen about the sale by the Neely family that money talks is far below the dignity of the office, but that has never stopped Keith before.
“The actions of the chair, the BOC nor the county manager over this matter could hardly be described as examples of profiles in courage.”

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