St. Anthony nixes Islamic centerby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. ANTHONY, Minn. — St. Anthony Village has turned down a request by an Islamic congregation to open a prayer center in the basement of a former Medtronic building.
The Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to deny the group a conditional use permit, citing zoning regulations that restrict assemblies to commercial and residential areas.
Council member Hal Gray was one of the council members who voted against the permit. Although public testimony included open opposition to allowing an Islamic congregation to meet in the city at all, Gray said the dispute wasn't about religion.
"Something that's not said very often in the [news] paper or anywhere else is that we turned down a Christian church for much the same thing in October. But of course, that didn't hit the TV because there was no one yelling discrimination," he said.
Supporters of the center said they believed that they were turned down because of their faith.
Gray said St. Anthony has expanded where it will allow religious gatherings to other parts of the city.