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|Loathe Thy Neighbor|
by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
Do you guys remember this story from late 2006? A proposed mosque in an unincorporated area of Katy, Texas was met with local opposition. A neighbor of the proposed development held pig races in protest. It garnered some national media attention at the time, including a story on the Daily Show.
Things have quieted down since then. (I live in Katy.) The neighbor only held the pig races a couple of times, and construction on the mosque hasn't yet begun. But there's a local group -- Preserving the Lifestyles and Neighborhoods of Katy (or PLANK) -- who continues to "monitor" the development. They also have fliers.
Another reader sends this news item from yesterday:
Community members say it is economic concerns, not religious prejudice, that has caused them to not embrace the idea of turning a one-time fast food restaurant in Chicago's West Ridge neighborhood into a mosque. "It's a key property zoned for retail... That's what we want to keep it," said Amie Zander of the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce, explaining that converting the property into a place of Islamic worship would take it off the tax rolls.
From all the facts presented in this story, the chamber of commerce sounds like it has a legitimate, non-bigoted reason for wanting the mosque built elsewhere. But another tragic consequence of the Cordoba controversy is that other seemingly similar cases of zoning disputes won't be evaluated on their own merits; they will get rolled into the broader, politically-charged narrative.
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