Suit filed to stop building of Florida mosque

A Pompano Beach man who opposes a planned mosque in his neighborhood filed a lawsuit in state court Tuesday against three Islamic groups supporting the project.

Rodney Wright claims the mosque would bring an extremist form of Islam to his neighborhood. He wants a judge to order the Islamic Center of South Florida not to build it, saying the mosque would be a “nuisance” that would lower his property value, according to Broward Circuit Court records.

Islamic community leaders say Wright is misrepresenting their religion and beliefs. The Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida, a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes the understanding of Islam, is among the groups being sued.

The Islamic Center plans to build the 29,400-square-foot worship center and school. The city approved a zoning change for the project at 1501 NW 16th Ave. last year. The new worship center would replace an existing mosque on Northeast Sixth Street.

The Islamic Center, the Council on American Islamic Relations and CAIR Florida Inc. are named in the lawsuit. A representative of the Islamic Center could not be reached for comment.

Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida Chapter of CAIR, said Wright’s claims are false. “It’s unfortunate that in this day and age, that you will find such a frivolous lawsuit being filed,” he said.

Wright’s attorney, Larry Klayman, said his client “feels strongly that the mosque is a security threat and it’s going to disrupt the entire neighborhood.” “It is the goal of the [Islamic Center] to spread radical Islam throughout the United States,” the lawsuit says.

Wright is getting support from the Rev. O’Neal Dozier, the minister who spoke out against the project last year, calling Islam a “dangerous and evil cult.” Dozier is not a party to the suit.

Florida Sun-Sentinel, 2 May 2007