Newton County has decided to shut down its entire permitting process for houses of worship to prevent a mosque and cemetery from opening up in their community.
Five local mayors, plus some of the area’s residents, have actually expressed how appalled they are with the change.
In a letter from the mayors to the board of commissioners, they wrote that placing the moratorium on places of worship is, “making Newton County residents look ignorant and closed-minded.”
The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-GA), along with 20 other groups including the NAACP, ACLU of Georgia and many Muslim organizations, have called on the Department of Justice to investigate.
Megan Martin, the Attorney for Newton County, assured reporters that the BOC didn’t put the moratorium in place to to prevent the mosque from going up, but to allow the BOC to investigate the ordinances related to “campus-like” facilities — like schools and churches.
In other words, the county is taking time — five weeks to be precise — to determine how to manipulate the rules to prevent the mosque and related cemetery from being built.
The BOC hosted back-to-back town halls, allowing the community to air their “concerns” about the mosque. Hundreds turned out to express their sincerely held Islamophobic views.
One man told local news station The Covington News, “I don’t want it in the county. These people [are] the same people that did 9/11.”
More than 300 residents packed the town hall, and over fifty people testified about similar “concerns,” citing common anti-Muslim tropes related to terrorism and Sharia law.
“I don’t have a problem with Muslims, I have a problem with Sharia law,” said Bobby Huggins, The Covington News reports. “Are they going to be able to have Sharia law so they can beat their wife? Are they going to make little children to marry? That’s Sharia law. Are they going to practice Sharia law or United States law?”
“How in the heavens above us do we know that that fifty acres is not right in the middle and could be an Isis training camp,” the local Fox station reported one woman asking.
The mayors called on the BOC to end the moratorium immediately, and to “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.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, along with supporters like Georgia Sen. David Perdue, have been fueling anti-Muslim beliefs, and now it’s Muslims in our local communities who must live with the impact.
Hopefully the Newton County BOC listens to the area’s mayors and some of the residents calling for the county to treat the mosque like they would any other applicant.