Monday, September 5, 2016

FYI:  Here is a Dekalb County case where a neighboring property owner had major issues with the Mosque,took it to State Court, had it referred for arbitration and it seems that took care of the issue as after arbitration it was dismissed without prejudice (meaning it could be refiled if needed).  

To see the 22 pages use the below link to see the case.


Case Number:  13A46164,  Court:  Division 5, Dekalb County
File Date:  02/25/2013
Case Type:  State General Civil
Case Status:  Closed

Lead Attorney, SITTON, CLINTON W

Defendant  -  MASJID AT-TAQWA
Lead Attorney, BAIG, M KHURRAM

Events and Hearings
Filed: 2/25/13 - Dismissed: 10/9/14

ORDER FOR MEDIATION -- Mediation is to be scheduled and completed no later than April 30, 2014. It is further Ordered that discovery in this matter is extended up through and including May 30, 2014.

Hearing Time  02:00 PM 10/09/2014 - Dismissal Without Prejudice -  Comment
10/09/2014 Civil Case Disposition form

Use link to see the 22 pages:



Q)  Which is correct?

1) 3 past presidents came from Newton County,

2) The County was named after Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newton,

3) A Mosque is setting up a paintball and survival course on 135 acres,

4) None of the Above

A)  #2  

(OK, maybe it isn't #2, try #3)


David Ibata for the AJC

A Muslim group has bought land in Newton County for a possible mosque and cemetery, and residents are divided: Some are against a mosque, expressing concerns of terrorism and assimilation; others say that as a matter of religious freedom, the Al Maad Al Islami congregation should be allowed to build. 

Here’s what readers had to say. 

I believe that the way the news of the mosque’s land purchase was“announced”to the public by (Newton County Chairman) Keith Ellis, over a year later, speaks volumes. The subsequent“moratorium”is out of fears and prejudices. I believe that this hornet’s nest has been stirred up to take attention off the forensic audit and issues regarding our solid waste stream. As a tax-paying homeowner in Newton County, I welcome the mosque and its congregation. They purchased the land and obtained their permit for a house of worship and cemetery according to our laws here. Any impediment to progress for the mosque is an infringement of their rights. Freedom of religion is for all. — Ann Neuhierl 

Muslims should not be permitted to build a mosque in Newton County. Muslims always refer to Christians as Infidels. Muslims believe if you tie a bomb to yourself and blow yourself up in a group of people you are a hero. Muslims believe if you tie a bomb to a child and kill a lot of people you have done something good. Muslims have bad sanitary habits. Muslims killed thousands of good Americans when they blew up the Twin Towers in New York. Muslims hate Jews and Christians. Why should America have to pay $400 million to Muslins to have them release four innocent Americans from their prisons? Why do the Muslims put prisoners in a cage and burn them to death? I have no desire to live in or around Muslins. — Bill Almand 

There should be no legal way to stop Muslims or Baptists or Catholics from building a mosque or a church or a cathedral in Newton County or any other county in the freedom-of-religion-held-dear U.S.A. — Tom Slaughter 

I have been a resident of Newton County since 2002. I consider myself to be a pretty open-minded person, but the idea of a mosque being built here just doesn’t sit right with me. For the record, I am African-American and have a few friends who happen to be Muslim. But I am also a native New Yorker, and 9 /11 has left me scarred. So, no — I would prefer that they build somewhere else. I moved out to the country to get away from all things Atlanta. Looks like all things are now following me. — Tina Banks 

I live in Rockdale County, and I am not at all happy about what this could mean in the long term. However, if current zoning laws will not be violated, since we have religious freedom in this country, I don’t see any way to legitimately stop it. I hope this is not a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing scenario. — Dave Spencer


If you are looking for additional reading about Mosque's here are my blogs about what happened in Kennesaw, Ga.  

This is not directly relevant to the Newton County issue, but FYI, here are links to what happened when the Suffa Dawat mosque went into a downmarket strip mall about 3 yrs ago:

The entire matter from Start to Finish:

The suit that cost the City of Kennesaw $18,000:

I am also available on Facebook at:



Atlanta Journal Constitution, 9/2/16

Mosque hearing was respectful

We attended the first public hearing about the proposed mosque in Newton County. The courthouse was packed with 300 to 400 citizens, many of whom spoke ardently but peaceably about their deep-seated concerns. 

One of those that struck us was the revelation that the 135-acre purchase was made under false pretenses, under the name of Avery Community Church. Why was this subterfuge used?

The speakers were forceful, even impassioned, but never unruly or uncontrolled. No one incited to riot or violence. The speakers were merely exercising their Constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. We thank so many citizens who waited so long in the hot sun, to either listen or speak. Everyone deserves his day in court. 

We hope the people of Newton County will organize, get a website, and legal counsel.




County News

Work Session and Special Called Meeting set for Sept. 13 Regarding Zoning Ordinance/Temporary Moratorium

Post Date:08/31/2016 9:58 AM
    (COVINGTON, GA - 8/31/16)  The Newton County Board of Commissioners today announced its intention to take action regarding the County's moratorium on permits for all houses of worship at a special-called meeting on September 13, 2016 when County staff expects to complete the preliminary review of proposed updates to local zoning ordinances.
    The Board of Commissioners voted August 16, 2016 to enact a temporary moratorium on new permitting for all places of worship to address legitimate planning and zoning concerns impacting the health, safety and welfare of the County’s citizens.
    "As a result of the County's quick and efficient review of our zoning ordinances, I plan to vote in favor of lifting the moratorium at the special called meeting on September 13," District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz said. "Newton County is rich in diversity and hospitality, and we are happy to see residents of all faiths and backgrounds live and worship together in our community."
    "We thank and commend the Newton County commissioners for pledging to lift the moratorium on permits for houses of worship," Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Executive Director of CAIR Georgia said. "Although Newton Muslims will once again have the right to proceed with building a cemetery and house of worship, they plan to first spend more time building bridges with their neighbors."
    Imam Mohammed Islam, the leader of Masjid At-Taqwa in Doraville, has accepted invitations to attend Sunday service at different churches in the area over the next four weeks. 
    "We believe that building bridges with our neighbors is far more important than immediately building a new house of worship and cemetery."
    Following proper procedures and protocols, Newton County Development Services issued an Administrative Use Permit to Al Maadi al Islami, Inc. in June 2015. To date, the Applicant has not submitted plans to Newton County Development Services for review. Once an applicant submits plans, they are reviewed by various County departments and divisions including Engineering, Transportation, Planning and Zoning, Fire Services as well as applicable state agencies. Once plans are approved, the County issues permits and construction may begin.
    “We pledge to work collaboratively with the Applicant throughout the review process to ensure the project meets federal and state requirements and follows local ordinances and laws. Once plans are approved, the County can issue permits and construction begins.” County Manager Lloyd Kerr said.
    “As a County Commissioner, I encourage us to create a community where people from all walks of life and backgrounds are proud to live, work and play in Newton County. I will vote in support of removing the temporary moratorium at the September 13, 2016 special called meeting,” District 2 Commissioner Lanier Sims said.
    During the September 13, 2016 special-called meeting, the Commissioners plan to receive an update on proposed changes to the County's zoning ordinances, which will not affect previously approved projects, including the Al Maadi al Islami, Inc. project.


    Mosque Secretary Kawsar Ahmed
    Court: ganbke - Case: 1:05-bk-93228
    Chapter 7 Filed 05/11/2005 - Date Closed 09/22/2005
    Disposition: Standard Discharge 09/22/2005

    Mosque CFO Tarun Ahmed

    Court: ganbke - Case: 1:11-bk-66440
    Chapter 13 Filed 06/06/2011 - Date Closed 09/23/2011
    Disposition: Dismissed for failure to make plan payments 08/18/2011

    Court: ganbke - Case 1:11-bk-81405

    Chapter 13 Filed 10/31/2011 - Date Closed 02/29/2012
    Disposition: Dismissed for failure to make plan payments 01/26/2012

    Mosque CEO Mohammad Islam

    Probably none.  Name is to common to determine, there are 3 listed in N. Ga, 1 in Fla and 1 in Alabama

    Tarun Ahmed, Pro Se, 2663 Beacon Dr, Doraville, Ga, Defendant
    FIA Card Services, Inc, Plaintiff
    Case: 12A41353 Filed: 03/05/2012 - Dismissed:  07/12/2012 
    Dismissed without Prejudice


    Georgia county will end ban, mosque project can go forward

    by: KATHLEEN FOODY, Associated Press Updated: 
    ATLANTA (AP) — A ban on building permits for religious institutions that was prompted by opposition to a mosque will soon be lifted, officials in a Georgia county said Wednesday.
    Newton County officials said the project needs other approvals before construction can start but pledged to work with mosque members. A majority of the county's commissioners said they plan to vote Sept. 13 to lift the ban and approve zoning changes that won't affect the mosque and Muslim cemetery.
    "Newton County is rich in diversity and hospitality, and we are happy to see residents of all faiths and backgrounds live and worship together in our community," Commissioner Nancy Schulz said in a joint statement with Muslim leaders.
    Opposition to the project mounted this month as residents learned members of a mosque in Doraville, a northwest Atlanta suburb, planned to build a mosque and cemetery on 135 acres it purchased in rural Newton County about 40 miles southeast of Atlanta.
    One commissioner told The Rockdale Citizen newspaper that he wondered whether the project would make Newton County "a prime area for the federal government to resettle refugees from the Middle East." Two public meetings were held, both crowded with angry opponents who cheered when people expressed fears about global terrorism.
    The moratorium prompted the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the NAACP to request a federal civil rights investigation in Newton County. CAIR Georgia's executive director Edward Mitchell on Wednesday thanked county officials for committing to lifting the ban.
    "Although Newton Muslims will once again have the right to proceed with building a cemetery and house of worship, they plan to first spend more time building bridges with their neighbors," he said.
    Mohammed Islam, religious leader of the Doraville mosque proposing the project, said he plans to visit local Sunday church services during the next month. Islam has said mosque members didn't intend to take any legal action against the county.
    He said they wanted a place where they can uphold Muslim funeral rituals but not clash with neighbors.
    "We believe that building bridges with our neighbors is far more important than immediately building a new house of worship and cemetery," Islam said in the statement.
    Emails reveal panic over proposed Newton mosque

    Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016

    Two weeks before angry opposition to a proposed mosque in Newton County made national news, local leaders and their constituents exchanged confused, sometimes panicked, emails about the project, a review of county emails reveals.
    Newton County commissioners received and sent dozens of emails about the proposed mosque, beginning Aug. 9 when a local newspaper posted a short story about it online. The emails, released under Georgia’s open records laws, show commissioners were caught unaware of the project and struggling to come to grips with local reaction.
    While some residents urged commissioners not to meddle, an email sent Aug. 11 to Commissioner Nancy Schulz was typical.
    “I live very near this sight (sic) and I am extremely AGAINST this being approved,” the emailer wrote, urging Schulz and the rest of the commission to block the development.
    Schulz’s reply was diplomatic, thanking the constituent for her email and noting that the mosque was not on the commission’s Aug. 16 agenda.
    “However, citizens are always welcome to comment during the citizen comment portion of the meeting which is typically at the end of the meeting,” Schulz wrote. She forwarded the response to her fellow commissioners, prompting a reply from Commissioner John Douglas.
    “I have asked for it to be on the agenda,” he wrote.
    In fact, Douglas, a staunch conservative, was incensed that he learned that the mosque was planned for his district from the local newspaper.
    “How did something with the potential controversy like this get all the way to the newspaper without us knowing about it?” Douglas asked in email sent the same day the story broke to Commission Chairman Keith Ellis and interim County Manager Lloyd Kerr.
    Douglas is not a stranger to controversy. Last year, the former state legislator was forced to apologize for a Facebook post many took as racist and misogynist.
    Last month, Douglas, who declined to be interviewed, fanned the mosque controversy by suggesting in a local paper it could encourage the federal government to settle refugees in the county.
    Federal law protects churches, commissioners told
    Over the course of several days, Kerr struggled to explain the sequence of events while assuring the officials that the county had followed its normal processes. Kerr also warned commissioners that the U.S. Constitution and federal law both took a dim view of interfering with the construction of houses of worship.
    “We must treat this no differently than the First Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc. or risk breaking federal law,” Kerr wrote in an email sent Aug. 13.
    Kerr told commissioners that if a mosque met the zoning requirements and got the right permits, no public hearing is required for approval.
    “It is important to remember that freedom to practice one’s faith is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights,” Kerr wrote. “This right is further protected by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act that prohibits local governments from burdening citizens desiring to use land for purposes of worship with regulations not required of other similar land uses.”
    County development officials had been meeting with representatives of the mosque development for more than a year.
    Plans include a church and a cemetery as well as longer range plans for a school and residences. However, the emails also indicate that Kerr — who heads the city’s development office as well as serving as interim manager — was not aware the proposed project was a mosque until very recently.
    “I personally had no concrete knowledge that the project was a mosque until I spoke with my staff and reviewed the rendering following the meeting held on Aug. 8 with the engineer,” Kerr said in an Aug. 18 email. “My staff was not misleading me, rather, I asked the wrong questions.”
    Heated local reaction
    Responses to the news from Newton County residents were all over the map.  “Apparently no one in authority has asked who is actually sponsoring this endeavor,” an Aug. 14 email from a local conservative activist reads. “Saudi Arabia, perhaps? The Muslim Brotherhood? What will be taught there, Sharia Law?”
    Others pleaded with commissioners to reject such insinuations and consider that the county is still trying to rebound from the effects of the Great Recession.
    “Please do not allow us to be drawn into a lawsuit that we cannot afford. For crying out loud! We are making some progress here,” one resident wrote to Ellis. “Help us by refusing to allow a subset of hysterical people to prevent the legal use of property and the free exercise of religion.”
    On Aug. 11, Ellis wrote back to a constituent opposing the mosque and confided that he was struggling with what to do.
    “There is only one decision the board may face. The school, if they decide to build one, will need a conditional use permit. The mosque and cemetery do not require any approval. They can build them under the current zoning by law,” he wrote. “As Christians, we must be prayed up. We face spiritual warfare daily. I will attempt to do as Jesus would do.”
    Ellis did not elaborate on what position Jesus might take on county zoning matters.
    Hundreds of residents turned out Aug. 22 for back-to-back listening sessions, with most speakers opposing the development. The town hall meetings made national news, much of it unflattering and the mayors of Newton’s five citiesissued a public letter asking the county government to stop “embarrassing” them.
    Some residents seek dialogue
    This week, an quieter effort got under way to dialog with the Islamic community seeking to build the mosque. At least four commissioners and several mayors met in a series of meetings with Imam Mohammad Islam, spiritual leader of the Doraville-based Muslim community seeking to build the church.
    “I know the meeting I was in was very productive. We were building a relationship of understanding,” Commissioner Schultz said. “They do not practice Sharia law. They are U.S. citizens. They deserve the rights and protections of any U.S. citizens.”
    Schultz said the imam’s community was drawn to Newton County for the same reasons many people have moved there — available, cheap land.
    “His church is a church of people of modest income. They wanted to be able to have land they could afford. Their primary focus is for a place to bury their dead in a respectful (way),” she said.
    In a telephone interview this week, the imam said he is grateful for the chance to get to know the people of Newton County. So far, his impression is counter-intuitive.
    “They are so welcoming,” he said. “I really thank God Almighty that he has given me the opportunity to meet these great people.
    “This is why America is great,” he said.
    The spiritual leader said he considers the fear some have shown to be “very normal.” He is convinced that as residents come to know his community, that will change.
    “When you come with your heart, I believe that people will realize and the misconceptions and the fear will be gone,” he said.

    Newton to lift moratorium on mosque
    Posted: 6:31 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

    A temporary ban affecting a proposed mosque and cemetery in Newton County will likely be lifted following meetings between county officials and Muslim community leaders this week.
    Newton County commissioners said Wednesday they plan to lift a moratorium on new places of worship enacted in response to the project.
    “I thank the Newton County commissioners for doing the right thing,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Georgia branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He was speaking at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
    The Doraville congregation behind the project, represented by Al Maad Al Islami Inc., purchased 135 acres off Ga. Highway 162 in June 2015. At that time, it received a county permit for a place of worship.
    But over a year later, word of the mosque spread, sparking fierce public opposition and the moratorium.
    CAIR had previously noted that the Department of Justice was considering their request to investigate the county for discriminatory practices over its handling of the project. The county held two public hearings on the mosque, despite the fact that the organization had not submitted any plans or applied for permits. The response was overwhelmingly negative, and no one from the mosque was invited to attend.
    Mohammad Islam, the imam of the Doraville-based congregation behind the proposed mosque, said CAIR acted independently when it filed its complaint to the DOJ. He said he preferred a gentler, more direct approach.
    “It’s very normal what we are hearing,” Islam said of the fears voiced by some Newton County residents. “It’s not their test; it’s our test. We should show we are compassionate, we are gracious and the tide will (turn).”
    Islam and several other members of his congregation met with Newton County officials and several local mayors earlier this week to introduce themselves and answer questions. The imam said he was pleased with the outcome of those meetings, and plans to reach out to the broader Newton County community over the coming weeks.
    Islam said he did not have a timeline for when he expected construction to begin on the mosque and cemetery, adding that his focus was on building better relations with the new neighbors.
    Once Al Maad Al Islami submits plans to the county, they will be reviewed by various departments and a permit will be issued or denied without coming before the Board of Commissioners for a vote.
    “We pledge to work collaboratively with the Applicant throughout the review process to ensure the project meets federal and state requirements and follows local ordinances and laws,” County Manager Lloyd Kerr said, according to a joint statement with the county and CAIR. “Once plans are approved, the County can issue permits and construction begins.”
    According to the statement, commissioners expect to lift the moratorium at a Sept. 13 meeting.
    A Newton County spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment from individual commissioners or the county chairman, but District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz was quoted in the statement praising Newton’s rich “diversity and hospitality.”
    “We are happy to see residents of all faiths and backgrounds live and worship together in our community,” she said.


    Georgia Domestic Non-Profit Corporation · Updated 2/5/2016

    Al Maad Al Islami, Inc. is a Georgia Domestic Non-Profit Corporation filed on December 17, 2004 . The company's filing status is listed as Active/Compliance and its File Number is 0475379. 

    The Registered Agent on file for this company is Ahmed, Tarun and is located at 2674 Woodwin Road Doraville Ga 30360, Dekalb, Doraville, GA 30360. The company's principal address is 2674 Woodwin Road, Doraville, GA 30360.

    The company has 3 principals on record. The principals are Kawsar Ahmed from Lilburn GA, Mohammad Islam from Doraville GA, and Tarun Ahmed from Doraville GA.

    3999 Cliff Glen Ct.
    Lilburn, GA 30047

    Chief Executive Officer
    2662 Woodwin Road
    Doraville, GA 30360

    Chief Financial Officer
    2663 Beacon Road

    Doraville, GA 30360

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