Permit recommended for Edmond Islamic center over opposition

A request to investigate Islamic Society of Edmond ties to other groups was turned down by planning commissioners. The society wants to build an activity building next to the mosque that has been in the city since 1990.
by Diana Baldwin Published: May 9, 2013

— Planning commissioners turned down an Edmond pastor who asked them to delay voting on an Islamic activity center permit and investigate ties between the Islamic Society of Edmond and national Islamic groups.

A request by the Rev. Paul Blair, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church, was interrupted by planning Chairman Barry Moore shortly after Blair began speaking during the Tuesday's meeting.

“We are here to talk about land uses, not anything else,” Moore said. “We are not going to get into what is and what isn't.”

Blair claimed the Islamic Society of Northern American, which he identified as the applicant for the specific-use permit, and the North American Islamic Trust, owners of the land, were proven in federal court to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

County assessor records show the North American Islamic Trust owns the land where Edmond's mosque now sits and the lots to the west where the activity center would be built. The Islamic Society of Edmond, which is the applicant for the project, owns the lot to the south of the mosque at Thatcher Street and University Drive.

After the meeting, Moore called the discussion inappropriate.

“It was not on the agenda to discuss,” Moore said. “We were here to discuss a specific use permit, a land use.”

Planning commissioners recommended issuance of a permit to allow the two-story, 34-foot-tall building with a 14-foot dome to be built near the southwest corner of Wayne Avenue and University, next to the mosque that has been in the city since 1990. The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Bill Moyer voting against the request.

Moyer questioned the amount of available parking on the property at 525 N University Drive.

City council members are to make a final decision on the permit during their Monday meeting.

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by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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