In 2009, two mosques in Minneapolis decided to join forces to purchase a space and establish a large Islamic Center in the Twin Cities area in hopes of accommodating Minnesota’s growing Muslim population .
After a long search and an ambitious fundraising campaign, in 2012 mosque leaders purchased the former Medtronic headquarters in St. Anthony — rebranding it as Abu Huraira Islamic Center (after a companion of Prophet Mohammed ).
Later that year, when mosque leaders sought a permit from the St. Anthony Village City Council, however, they encountered bitter resistance from local residents during a public hearing. Residents made it clear that they didn’t want to see an Islamic center in their community — and why they felt that way .
“There is no other religion in the world that condones violence,” resident John Murlowski testified. “Islam is evil .”
“There are no pluses at all in letting this mosque into our city,” said Rob Lundeen, another resident .
“Where did you come from?” asked another. “Change your own country .”
After the testimony, the St. Anthony City Council voted 4-1 against the proposal, explaining that the plans for the Islamic center were not compatible with light-industrial zoning of the St. Anthony Business Center, where the mosque would be located .
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