Starkville, MS

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An Islamic Center was considering purchasing one of three parcels of land near the university on which to erect a student center. In preliminary discussions with city officials, what everyone agreed were legitimate concerns about parking and congestion emerged. Not wanting to appear uncooperative, the Center turned its attention to a fourth piece of land, suitable for its needs although it lay somewhat further from campus. The Planning Commission gave its okay after meeting with the group, and the Center purchased the land. The city’s building code inspector next approved the blueprints for the proposed structure. However, the city council turned the zoning request down, citing congestion. (Somewhat ironically, a house next door was used by Pentecostals.) The Islamic Center took the city to court, and while it lost at the district court was victorious on appeal. Had they not had the determination and the resources to go to court (all the while holding on to the property without being able to use it), though, the Center’s directors would have lost the opportunity to construct their facility. [Source: Waltman, J. L. (2011). Religious free exercise and contemporary American politics: The saga of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. New York : Continuum.]





“Starkville, MS,” U.S. Mosque Controversies, accessed October 5, 2022,

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