North Ridgeville mosque plan met with acceptance, frustration as sides weigh in

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH (WOIO) - The North Ridgeville Planning Commission will hold a special meeting Monday to discuss a proposal to build a mosque.

Plans are in the works to turn an empty plot of land in the 33000 block of Center Ridge Road into the west side's largest Muslim community center and mosque.

"People say we don't have a big enough Muslim community to build one here, but I don't think that matters. I think people would come from all over to go to that, because I don't really think there's that many mosques around," said resident Chuck Rosiu.

The West Cleveland Muslim Association bought the land two years ago. Board members said they expect to see about 400 Muslims use the community center once it's built. If everything goes as planned, WCMA hopes to break ground this summer and have the project done by fall of 2019.

The land sits across from The Century Tavern, east of Lear Nagle Road. It's a commercially zoned site that allows church construction, but North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock said, although his office has only received one complaint, City Council has taken a number of concerned phone calls.

People shared their feelings on Facebook, too. Cleveland 19 asked viewers on Facebook about the proposal and more than half said the plans shouldn't be approved.

"What are you going to do about it? Either go to City Hall and try to stop it or just welcome everyone," said one North Ridgeville resident.

People who live in the community told Cleveland 19 people need to be more accepting.

"This country was founded on religious freedom, so keep letting people have their religious freedom," said Rosiu.

"I don't think it's that big of an issue. I think they should be allowed to build what they want. It's the United States of America, we don't want people to start telling us what we can practice," said resident Mark Steinbrunner.

"My beliefs are that, no matter what you believe in, God loves everybody, no matter what race, religion, color. If that wants to come to our city, great, more power to them. I believe we should show them love and we should extend them grace," said resident Jeff Goode.

In response to the feedback, Hamid Hasan, WCMA Board Member said, "We are a community with a lot of open arms and we'd like to open doors to peaceful dialogue."

There will be a planning commission special meeting Monday to discuss the proposal. Cleveland 19 News will be at the meeting to find out what is said.

Return to Cleveland 19 for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.