EDMOND — Consideration of plans by the Islamic Society of Edmond to build a 10,500-square-foot mosque expansion across from the University of Central Oklahoma was postponed indefinitely July 17 by Edmond planning commissioners.
City Planner Bob Schiermeyer said church leaders are considering tearing down their present mosque at 525 N University Drive, something that wasn't in the original plans submitted for a specific use permit.
Specific use permits are required by the city for all churches in Edmond.
Islamic Society of Edmond owns two lots at Thatcher Street and University Drive. North American Islamic Trust owns seven lots to the north at Wayne Avenue and University Drive, Oklahoma County Assessor records show.
Notification to surrounding property owners and a sign telling people about the application are displayed on the property where the mosque and fellowship hall expansion is proposed.
Islamic society leaders will have to start over with the application and notification process if they decide to tear down the present mosque and alter the plans for the new building, Schiermeyer said.
“They haven't chosen a course of actions,” Schiermeyer said. “It is in their hands to determine what they want to do.”
“We have no idea about a date whatsoever,” he said.
Imad Enchassi, president and imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said the Edmond Islamic Society is trying to decide how the mosque will expand. He said some society leaders want to build a new mosque building on the site and others want to add on to the current mosque building.
An email, a phone call and an anonymous letter against the expansion of the Edmond mosque have been received by council members and city staff.
One email referred to the new mosque as a headquarters for “a terrorist affiliate organization.”
A permit for the present mosque was approved in a split 3-2 vote on June 25, 1990. City leaders were told then the location for the mosque was chosen for the “suitability and convenience of the location” for the students and faculty, according to council minutes.
Pastors and residents spoke both for and against the original mosque 22 years ago. Council members then said their vote wasn't a religious issue.
CONTRIBUTING: Carla Hinton, Religion Editor