Friday, August 14, 2009

MCLU, THE CITY AND THE ZONING OF 'HOLY GROUNDS'


I have received a couple of emails from some friends asking for my opinion on the on going law suit filed by the Maine Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Afghan Muslim community against the City of Portland. After reading some of the comments on Portland Press herald's website I decided to share my opinion.
Almost a year or more ago the the MCLU and the greater Portland's faith community came out in numbers to support Rabbi Moshe Wilinsky when he was forced into the lime light over same zoning issues. The City of Portland prides itself to the most diverse in the State of Maine and one of the most diverse in the country. I think some of the challenges that comes with diversity or growth is Change, which is difficult to do. I have heard some people say 'when in Rome do what Romans do' .I totally agree with that on certain issues but when it comes to a person's freedom to worship , irrespective of what faith it is we need to look at it. I don't know how city hall operates but my suggestion will be for the city's zoning board to amend some of its rules and meet the demand of the growing city, It doesn't have to change all the rules. From what I read in Portland press Herald, some members of the Afghan Community went around the neighborhood to meet their neighbors and one of the residents actually said she doesn't think it s a problem having the mosque there. the city of Portland's spokes person was also quoted as saying that they are still having dialogue with the Afghan community I think that is great they should continue on that path. It is possible to come to some sort of compromise on both sides....

Quote of he day:
"They are very nice people. We have no troubles with a mosque," . "I'd rather have them than a bar." Amelia Waterhouse Resident of Washington Ave neighborhood for more than 20 years.

* photo courtesy of Fox23 Portland. online.