Atlanta area: Kennesaw City Council denies mosque in shopping center

The City Council denied a request by Muslim residents to use space in a retail shopping center as a prayer center by a 4-1 vote Monday night, with Councilwoman Cris Eaton-Welsh voting in favor.

Doug Dillard, the attorney representing the applicant, Suffa Dawat Center at Kennesaw, said the council’s denial was a blatant attack on the applicant’s First Amendment rights to practice religion freely. Dillard said the applicant, Mufti Islam, will fight back, and he has plans to bring a lawsuit against the city.

“We think it’s discriminatory, and it violates equal terms,” Dillard said. “They had no reason to deny this.”

Nayyer Islam, who represents the mosque, said they will continue to fight for their right to worship in the retail center. “We’ll follow all the legal ways to continue to get the permit,” Islam said.

Eaton-Welsh said the applicant did everything he could. “I’m saddened,” Eaton-Welsh said. “The amount of anger that has come out of this was not something I ever thought Kennesaw was all about.”

The application asked for the use of a 2,200-square-foot suite in a shopping center off Jiles Road as a prayer hall for Muslims…