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Muslim development opposed in rural Howard County

WESTMINSTER — A citizens group aims to limit new construction at a former Catholic school complex in rural Howard County that an Islamic community is considering buying.

The Carroll County Times reports that residents of the Cooksville area met Thursday night with a representative from the Dar-us-Salaam community of College Park. The Islamic group is considering moving its mosque and school to the former Woodmont Academy, which closed two years ago.

The citizens group says it will fight a proposed zoning change that would expand the property’s development options to include “institutional and cultural facilities.”

The group’s lawyer says his clients aren’t anti-Muslim. He says they just want to preserve the area’s rural character.

The Islamic community says it hopes to overcome any opposition through its actions.

One comment

  1. We are the community group that sponsored the meeting last week. Unfortunately, the original article had factual errors and now yours does as well. We did not meet with members of Dar-us-Salaam Thursday night, rather, Thursday night’s meeting was a gathering of over 300 people from the community who have grave concerns about the development plan. We are not fighting a zoning change because it includes “institutional and cultural facilities,” we are fighting the zoning change because it allows dozens of uses that are inconsistent with an area that is designated for rural conservation in our County’s general plan. The zoning district that has been requested is intended to provide a transition from existing residential to existing commercial districts, both of which are several miles away from this parcel. We fear approval of this zoning change will open the thousands of acres of undeveloped rural property in the area to similar large scale development. Dar-us-Salaam can move its school onto the property now and grow it to the size that was approved for the previous Catholic school, which move our group would not oppose. We do oppose a project that is three times the size of the Catholic school that wanted more and was limited to the current approvals ten years ago. It’s disappointing that, in a seven sentence article, the Washington Post felt the need to reference religion five times. Why was “institutional and cultural facilities” put in quotes? Religion and culture have nothing to do with our opposition despite efforts by the Carroll County Times and now Washington Post to focus on those issues. Now an article that was not thoroughly researched or checked for facts has been picked up by the AP.