Plymouth City Council unanimously approves mosqueby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
The Plymouth City Council has approved plans to house a mosque in a post office building that was set to close.
Council members on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the conditional use permit.
During a city Planning Commission meeting last week, a few residents objected to the plans, saying a Muslim place of worship didn't belong in their city.
But Steve Juetten, the city's community development director, said the City Council put all religious discussion aside during the vote last night. "It was really non-controversial last night," he said. "When you break it down and you look specifically at the land use issues or the zoning issues which they're reviewing on the conditional use permit application, it was a pretty limited scope of what they look at."
The Northwest Islamic Community Center will buy the building but agreed to share space with the post office so it could keep serving customers.
Muslims living in Plymouth had been looking for a place closer to home to worship.
Juetten said the building needs some work and he expects it will be several months before it can be used as a community center.
Najam Qureshi, who chairs the Islamic center's board, said the process to approve the mosque showed a need for more interfaith dialogue in the northwestern Twin Cities suburbs.
Qureshi said Christian and Jewish leaders were at the council meeting last night to support the effort, and he says at least one resident who spoke out against Muslims has agreed to meet with the mosque's leaders.