After about a year of back and forth approval for an Islamic School and mosque in west Mobile, the Mobile City Council paved the way for expansion plans on East Drive.
“It makes us excited,” said Dalal Salem who lives near and attends the mosque. “My kids actually attend the school over there so I believe everyone has the right to be able to build. They have churches in the middle of neighborhoods I think there’s a Jehovah’s Witness over there so why deny us?”
Opponents to the expansion complained about traffic, parking and drainage.
“We’re very concerned and don’t understand how you can add more square footage with less parking,” one resident said at the Mobile City Council meeting. However Jim Busby who lives across from the mosque said he hasn’t seen a problem in the past year and neither has Salem. “They don’t park on the street too much and there’s traffic going back and forth anyways because of Old Shell and Airport so I don’t think a major issue with the traffic is coming from the mosque itself,” Salem said.
In a six to one vote the Mobile City Council approved plans to allow the Islamic Society of Mobile to expand the mosque and school in west Mobile rejecting the appeal of a decision by the Mobile Planning Commission. Bess Rich was the one council person to vote against the expansion: “this growth potential was never adequately addressed by the city’s planning staff,” Rich said.
Shafik Hammami spoke on behalf of the Islamic Society of Mobile and said it should take between 1-1 ½ years to build. “We are obviously very happy for the approval of our plans, we have persevered for a year with this ordeal. We thank Allah for His guidance and His grace to finally give us the victory that we want,” Hammami said.