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In Murfreesboro, Tenn., in 2010, county leaders approved plans to build a mosque and community center. Residents filed two lawsuits to stop construction, based partly on the county not providing adequate notice of council meetings, but also in part “that Islam is not a religion and that Muslims posed a threat to the neighborhood,” the research center summarized.

Last year in New York City, a Muslim group proposed building a mosque in a residential area of Brooklyn, and neighbors protested the plans, citing noise and traffic issues and claiming that the Muslim American Society proposing to build the mosque had ties to terrorism. One resident even threatened to bomb the mosque if it was built.

In Willowbrook, Ill., residents claimed traffic and water issues would make it difficult for the area to accept a mosque and Muslim gym and school.

Amy Lawless Ayala, lead organizer of DuPage United, which supported the mosque construction, said that at the time of the battle, “there’s no doubt people felt some resistance because it was out of their comfort zone. But, as an organization, we never made it an Islamophobia issue.”

“We personalized it,” Ms. Ayala said, “so they realized this wasn’t about neighbors against people from Mars. There were many efforts where the mosque community reached out and made big concessions I’m not sure even a church would do. They wanted to be neighborly. Regardless, we still had some neighbors who did not want it to happen.”

A ‘wedge issue’

Islamic centers aren’t the only religious facilities to get pushback from communities, but they get the brunt of it.

Last year in northern New Jersey, a Catholic school attempting to expand its gymnasium to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act faced residents skeptical that the expansion was too large, as did a Catholic school in San Mateo, Calif., wanting to expand its gym.

In Palm Beach, Fla., a Jewish synagogue had to get town council approval to hold religious events in an adjoining garden lot — but not without an uproar from neighbors last year who wanted to keep their streets quiet.

Roman Storzer, a D.C.-based lawyer specializing in religious land-use cases, said that “minority religions definitely suffer disproportionately in terms of land-use regulations throughout the country.”

“You see in these kinds of conflict, more often than not it’s with Buddhists, Orthodox Jews or Muslims,” he said.

One case in which Mr. Storzer was involved occurred in Walkersville, Md., about 30 miles northeast of the Woodmont property. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 2008 proposed buying a 224-acre farm and building a worship center for 200 people. They planned to set up sleeping space for up to 10,000 during an annual three-day festival.

The battle between the landowner, the Muslim community and residents outraged that their small town would nearly double in size made international headlines. The town’s zoning board eventually rejected the proposal, citing traffic and water concerns, and the property owner — not the Muslim group — filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Walkersville, which had to pay nearly $5 million for the property to settle the matter.

Steve Berryman, a spokesman for a citizens action group that fought the proposal, said the pushback stemmed from an honest concern for proper land use. But there was some discomfort with the prospective neighbors.

Sept. 11 “was not that long ago, and we’re near enough to Camp David and Fort Detrick that people are very security-minded,” Mr. Berryman said. “But even if it were a bunch of Boy Scouts, we would have opposed that, too. We truly would have.”

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