Plans are in the works for a Muslim complex in a rural Georgia community. Newton County is located along I-20, approx 30 miles SE of greater Atlanta. As of 2010 census, the population was 99,958. The county seat is Covington. Contact Newton County Board of Commissioners, 1124 Clark St, Covington, GA 30014 Tel: 770-784-2000. This site is NOT connected with any governmental body and the info here is presented so viewers can find all relevant items in one place. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, August 28, 2016
RE: The Al Maad Al Islami Mosque
Anyone looking into the money issue regarding the purchase of those 132 acres in Newton County?
The $675,900. It comes out to 5K per acre and I don't see any of the major players in the Mosque having more than one 'Subway' franchise, that is Mr. Turun Ahmed, listed as the Mosque CFO.
So where did they get $675,900, probably cash, but even if it were done with partial mortgage it would still be a major amount of money up front.
When I reported on our little issue in Kennesaw it was just a chicken shit sort of thing where some rich Arabs wanted their own little store front Mosque so they could be big frogs in a little pond.
This purchase from the Neeley Farms Family Limited Partnership, last August, involves major money and it seems that those known to be involved are not in that category of big time operators.
COVINGTON — A controversial proposal to build a mosque and cemetery in southern Newton County has focused a national spotlight on Newton County in a way that some local elected officials say is unwelcome.
The mayors of the five municipalities in Newton County gathered together Friday morning and agreed to send a letter to the five district county commissioners and Chairman Keith Ellis saying that they are “being embarrassed by our county leaders.”
Newton County has been at the center of a heated debate over a plan to build a mosque and cemetery on Ga. Highway 162 in southern Newton County. In response to the plan, the county has enacted a five-week moratorium on development of places of worship in the county. On Monday the Board of Commissioners hosted two town hall meetings attended by hundreds of citizens who wanted to express their opinions on the project. More than 70 residents spoke, most of them in opposition.
The mayors agreed on Friday to appeal to commissioners to remove the moratorium. In addition, they asked that commissioners:
• Set up a meeting with the leaders of the proposed mosque, county commissioners and the mayors of Newton County’s municipalities to discuss the project.
• Following that meeting, disseminate the information learned in the meeting and assure the citizens of Newton County of the following: That due diligence will be carried out and a comprehensive plan will be created to help the Muslim community integrate into our community in a positive way, provided they meet the permitting requirements and every local law that would apply to all Americans.
• Fully execute the permitting process in place that protects our community.
The mayors asked for a response by Tuesday, Aug. 30.
Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said Friday that the mayors meet every other month to discuss ways to work together and move their communities forward.
“Every one of us in our own right has done great stuff,” Johnston said of the mayors. “This is just very frustrating for us, the negative way that our county is dealing with certain things.”
Johnston said the mayors wanted to offer direction to the commissioners. “There is some concern about how they are handling this and how it is going to affect our community,” he said.
Newborn Mayor Gregg Ellwanger said the mosque moratorium enacted by the Board of Commissioners “has put our county in a very poor light” and could keep businesses from moving into the community due to the negative attention.
“It could have been handled much better, as many things in this county could be handled better from the county commission standpoint,” he said.
Mansfield Mayor Jefferson Riley said the course that the county should take is clear.
“All of us — the county commissioners, all the mayors — we all took an oath to uphold the laws and the constitution,” he said. “If we abide by what we swore to do, it is pretty cut and dried what we are supposed to do.”
Newton County Development Services has given administrative approval to the mosque and cemetery. No zoning approval was required because a place of worship is allowed in all zoning districts in the county as long as the project can meet provisions of the zoning ordinance. The project will be required to meet all engineering and permitting requirements. The mosque developers have not yet submitted any engineering or site plans to Development Services. ---------------------------------------------- COMMENTS: Self Serving Timing of 5 Mayor’s letter.
As reported as a ‘Featured Story’ Mayors Call for End of Moratorium, by the Newton Citizen: “The mayors of the five municipalities in Newton County gathered together Friday morning and agreed to send a letter to the five district county commissioners and Chairman Keith Ellis saying that they are “being embarrassed by our county leaders.”
Before the letter had even reached the Commissioners it appeared online in an article written by Alice Queen from the Covington Newton Citizen posted at 4:44 pm Friday August 26th, and it was also posted online in an article by the Atlanta Journal Constitution Friday at 4:59 pm under Local News.
Rather than being a sincere effort to convince the County Commissioners to rethink their hold on considering religious applications, Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnson was interested in grabbing some headlines for himself with some ‘ambush journalism’.
Not helpful Ronnie, you go from being part of the solution to being part of the problem. =====================================
A little over two weeks ago, our community turned from a normally peaceful and welcoming community, to a place that I no longer recognized. An article in a local newspaper reported a real estate transaction occurring last year, which ignited a firestorm of fear by hundreds and hate by a few in our community. In a county of over a hundred thousand people, that’s not a majority by any means but it was enough to catch a lot of people’s attention. We can all understand fear of the unknown and concern, but hatred has no place in our community. We are better than that.
The firestorm quickly spread across the state, then nationally. This site reportedone article, accompanied by a column in hopes that cooler heads would prevail. Thankfully, the majority of our community has stepped back and taken a breath. We still aren’t where we want to be, but thankfully most people have moved from anger to research, on to reflection and apologies. And our community is beginning to resemble the place my family has called home for at least four generations.
The conversation went so well, that the Imam invited Dustin and members of the community here in Newton County to come visit him for tea. An open invitation was put out to the community via social media, and multiple people responded, including myself. The Imam spoke with Dustin and said his congregation felt called to prepare and serve lunch to us during our visit. This past Tuesday, approximately ten people traveled to Doraville to meet our new neighbors. Three Christian Pastors, Covington City Councilman Josh McKelvey, a Pine Lake City Councilman and candidate for DeKalb Board of Commissioners George Chidi, and members of our community were greeted by the Imam and male school children. They gave us each beautiful red, white, and blue flowers; saying to us, “peace be upon you”.
Next we met more members of the congregation, and were served very delicious appetizers and then an equally delicious lunch. We had the opportunity to have conversations and learn about each other. There were many more similarities than differences. We spoke of our families, children, education, and life in general. At their new property in Newton County, they want to have a park that is shared with the community. He offered for all of us to come visit them, we are welcome to do so. No fences, no walls, no “compound” as many have feared.
Despite rumors on social media and word of mouth, that myself and June, the other lady in attendance, were blocked from entering portions of their masjid – that is completely false. We were treated with respect and made to feel welcomed from the moment we arrived, until the moment we left.
At one point, after we ate lunch, the men did go with the Imam to the boy’s school and had a discussion there. That is the picture from the AJC article, of which the reporter was female & her cameraman was male. June went to the female’s school. I was having such a deep and interesting conversation with a member of the congregation, that I didn’t realize that I was the only person from Newton County still in the dining hall. At this point, I then joined June at the female school. At no point were we barred from any part of their masjid, at all.
The Imam’s daughter is the teacher for the female’s school. We spoke briefly about religion, our faiths, including how our call to prayer occurs. We were present when their call to prayer occurred, we respectfully watched and then left before they all began to pray. Most of the conversation with the young ladies was about their education. One girl was studying American history. I spoke with them about this time period and our nation’s history with Islam, an upcoming article or column.
The majority of the conversation centered around questions about Newton County. They wanted to know what we did together as a community. We told them about our movies on the Square with characters like the Grinch that Stole Christmas, and free concerts on the Square. They loved the sound of those events. They told us how much they look forward to being our neighbors. The Imam’s daughter asked us what the country was really like. She said she is looking forward to fresh air and open spaces.
The Imam’s daughter also told us of her father’s vision for the property, which she said he’d had for years – even before finding this specific property. He envisions a place to where they can work hand in hand, side by side with their neighbors. Respecting others faiths. The men reported that the Imam said they wanted an organic garden and to hopefully get some cows.
After a great conversation, and learning about each other, we left and met back up with the rest of the group. Everyone, reported a great experience of peace and respect for one another. We all felt that the people we met will be a great new addition to our community. We also learned that the Imam and his congregation were already a part of our community. They knew one of the two Oxford College students that were killed by terrorists in Bangladesh (the country that the Imam and his family immigrated from). They mourned, just as we mourned.
They showed love, peace, and humility to us through their religion. For those of us that are Christians, we are also called to do this and trust in the Lord. In the Bible it says:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.
A friend of mine ends a lot of his posts on Facebook with: “Love always wins”, as he tries to uplift others. Which he does. I thought of this statement while speaking with the young ladies. I told them that everything they’ve seen on the news does not reflect our community. I also said to them that I truly believe that “Love always wins”. It seemed to put them at ease and they agreed that Love does always win.
Some have complained about this new development online but have declined opportunities to meet our new neighbors. If only they would cut off the 24/7 news cycle and get out and meet their new neighbors. They might just be surprised. Personally, I think they’re declining to meet them because they’re afraid they might end up liking them. For those that have a strong conviction to not want to welcome our neighbors into our community, please watch the video below. (sorry, that did not reproduce here)
I’m going to keep showing others love and I hope you’ll join me. I truly believe that in the end, “Love always wins”.