VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - The Virginia Beach City Council voted 9-1 to approve the building of mosque Tuesday night. The vote came after council heard from residents who are passionate about the issue.
"This is a very emotional and volatile issue," said Councilwoman Barbara Henley.
Council had to decide whether to allow the mosque to be built at the intersection of Salem and Landstown Roads. Some residents against the project argued there would be more traffic in the area, which would create a headache.
"Salem Road is in desperate need of that infrastructure being improved," one resident told council. "That's just a simple fact of the matter."
The mosque would be a first for Virginia Beach. Local Muslim nonprofit Crescent Community Center says the site containing a prayer hall would hold up to 225 people. Many residents told council they believe the mosque could be dangerous to the area.
"In real life, there are organizations out to harm us," anther speaker added. "The Muslim Brotherhood is one of those and has been recognized as such by our government. My organization is highly concerned that the new mosque may have ties to the brotherhood."
Some even brought up the events of 9-11.
"I sat on an airplane while my colleagues were killed and murdered," one speaker said. "Turn on the videos and watch people jumping out of the World Trade Center. We do not want mosques in Virginia Beach. Personally, I do not want them anywhere."
But in the end, council decided by law the mosque has the right to be there. Council members pointed the fact that there are two churches just down the street that were built in the last couple years.
"We have to be consistent," Henley added. "We have to treat everybody the same."
Councilman Bill DeSteph was the only member to vote against the mosque.
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