Local News

Goldsboro Residents Oppose Planned Mosque

Posted February 26, 2007 6:28 p.m. EST

— Residents in one local neighborhood are fighting to preserve a vacant parcel of land for houses, saying a house of worship proposed for the site would be out of place.

Dr. Waheed Akhtar of Goldsboro owns the overgrown lot at the corner of Memorial Drive and Best Avenue and said he wants to build a mosque there to make it easier for area Muslims to worship.

"There is a very small Muslim community in Goldsboro," Akhtar said, noting that they have to drive to Raleigh or Greenville to worship, which is difficult for him when he is on call. "I believe having a mosque in Goldsboro is good for Goldsboro."

He has petitioned the city to change the zoning of the lot to allow a 2,000-square-foot mosque and parking lot.

But some neighbors are fighting the proposed change. They have filed a formal petition to stop the rezoning.

"Why here? That's what I can't understand when you are beside all these houses," said Joyce Waters, who lives next to the lot.

Waters and other neighbors said their opposition has nothing to do with religion. Rather, they said, they are worried about too much growth and traffic.

"Whether it's a mosque or even my church, my thing is this (area) is residential, and that's what we want to see here," she said.

Akhtar said the mosque would be busy only two days a week and would have about 20 to 30 members. People would turn in to the parking lot right at the corner, he said.

"We are not disturbing the tranquility of that neighborhood at all," he said.

The same group of neighbors lost a similar fight last year to keep land across the street from being rezoned for business use.

"We just want this to stay as is," Waters said.

The Goldsboro Planning Commission will present a recommendation to the City Council at its next meeting.