He Wanted To Build A Mosque In their Town, And People Made Sure That He…
On a quiet piece of land, a Muslim man submitted plans to build a 10,000-square-foot mosque. Locals went immediately to their city hall when they became concerned that worshipers would set up loud loudspeakers and block traffic.
Ray Elk, a resident of Horn Lake, had high hopes for the smooth execution of his plans when he submitted an application to start building a mosque on Church Road.
However, his neighbors immediately took action, as soon as they learned about the construction project planned for the next several miles.
According to WREG, locals argued against the structure, citing a multitude of concerns and issues with having such a large Islamic center on the 80-acre plot, with an impressive turnout, as Citizens gathered at Horn Lake City Hall to oppose the plan to build a 10,000-square-foot mosque called Abraham House of God.
Residents approached the podium one at a time to make their cases against the mosque. Some people drew attention to the fact that numerous mosques built throughout the nation eventually installed loudspeakers that continuously broadcast the Islamic call to prayer in the early morning and at various times throughout the day.
One man said, “Horn Lake High School’s less than three miles from here. I would sure hate to see our students over there having to hear these speakers.”
One resident expressed concern that the mosque would operate under Sharia law, while others explained that the mosque would increase traffic exponentially, which would be unsustainable for the narrow, 2-lane road that has neither a shoulder nor a turning lane available.
Charles Elmore at a planning commission meeting said, “By the grapevine, I hear they’re not subject to our laws, they’re subject to their law.”
The board of alderman voted 5-1 to maintain the city's planning commission's decision to deny clearance for the site after hearing residents angrily oppose the construction of the huge mosque. Elk, instead of allaying the citizens' fears, dismissed their worries, accusing them of racism and Islamophobia.
Ray Elk said, “I’ve been a resident of DeSoto County for over 20 years. I raised all my six children in DeSoto County, they all go to school there and they have a right to go to their mosque and pray and practice their faith like every Christian.”
According to Commercial Appeal, immediately in response to such allegations, Ward 6 Alderman John Jones acknowledged that many mosques have promised not to install loudspeakers upon construction but end up doing it anyway, — reiterating that there were multiple reasons citizens didn’t want the mosque built, including insufficient water mains, traffic hazards, and the noise ordinance.
“And nobody in the area wants to have the problems that could arise. We’ve got a school right down the road. They say they’re not going to do this, but they have lawsuits all over the country that are unsettled because of the noise. If you let them build it, they will come. I think we need to stop it before it gets here,” said Alderman John Jones.
Directly expressing his suspicion that the Muslim businessman wasn’t planning to stop at constructing a 10,000-square-foot mosque, Alderman Donnie “Chigger” White spoke to Elk, during the meeting.
“10,000 square foot building, approximately how many acres of the plot does that cover? About three acres? So you’re buying a plot of 80 acres to put a three-acre church on? What’s your future plans?” White questioned Elk. “As of this moment, as of probably four (or) five years, I have no other plans. I can put this in writing,” Elk said.
“That’s strange, 79 acres to put a three-acre church on. That’s not very good business. … We must have something on the horizon that you’re not wanting us to know about,” White replied.
Although he failed to mention that mosque attendees often arrive and leave all at the same time, whereas residents come and go at alternating times, which wouldn’t cause spontaneous traffic hazards. But by pointing out that the city was willing to authorize a 400-house development in the region despite its lack of concern for traffic, Elk attempted to prove that the city is Islamophobic.
Elk was compelled to halt his intentions for pressing forward with the mosque's construction. He expressed hope that a judge will overrule the city's decision, but he pledged to challenge it in court.
Only 15 Muslim families now live in the county, thus unless Elk's mosque is built, the area will continue without a mosque. For the time being, residents may rest easy knowing that the call to prayer won't wake them up every morning. However, they will need to keep pushing for their voices to be heard if they want it to stay this way.
Watch the video below for more details: