Abu-Huraira Islamic Center apparently defies city of St. Anthony, buys property for mosque
Abu-Huraira is forging ahead with plans to convert the old Medtronic headquarters into an Islamic center.
In June, the St. Anthony City Council rejected the Abu-Huraira Islamic Center's request to open a multipurpose mosque on a 13,000 square-foot property zoned for light industrial use.
Though council framed the rejection as an effort to preserve the city's sparse amount of industrial property for industrial use, some thought the city's true motivation was Islamophobia. Lori Saroya, executive director of Minnesota's Council on American-Islamic Relations, said she planned to ask the Justice Department to review the city's decision. Suspicions of Islamophobia weren't allayed by some of things opponents of the Abu-Huraira center said at the council meeting -- one man said, "There is no other religion in the world that condones violence. Islam is evil."
Despite the city's decision, plans for the Islamic center are advancing. In fact, last month Abu-Huraira reportedly went ahead and purchased the property on which it hopes to open the center for $1.9 million.
[I]n a certificate of real estate value processed recently in Hennepin County, a group called the Abu-Huraira Islamic Center purchased the building on Aug. 23, with a down payment of $400,000. The seller of the building at 3055 Old Highway 8 was the St. Anthony Business Center Corp., an entity reportedly related to fallen real estate developer Jeffrey Wirth.
Ferdinand Peters, a St. Paul attorney representing [Abu-Huraira], said Thursday that "none of their plans have changed," regarding the center. When asked how that will be accomplished, given the city council's action in June, he said the group is "assessing ways to do that." He declined to offer further details.
A video posted to YouTube in January outlines Abu-Huraira's plans for the site, which include a prayer space, wedding hall, conference hall, Madrasa, and gym.
We'll let you know how Abu-Huraisa intends to get around St. Anthony's zoning restriction as soon as they disclose more about their plans.
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