- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 2, 2005

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

STOCKTON, Calif. — San Joaquin County supervisors rejected a proposed Islamic school whose founders were deported to Pakistan in a federal terrorism investigation.

The supervisors insisted their unanimous vote last week was based on land-use concerns and not the federal investigation, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The Farooqia Islamic Center near Lodi would have included an elementary school, worship hall and community center. Neighbors objected, saying traffic congestion would ruin their rural life.

“I know these are good people and mean well,” Supervisor Leroy Ornellas said, “but churches, mosques and temples should be located in cities.”

“I know you’re desperate for a location, but this isn’t it,” Supervisor Dario Marenco said.

Although board Chairman Steven Gutierrez tried to focus on traffic and zoning, some speakers cited the terrorism investigation that resulted in the June arrest of five Lodi Muslims, including two imams leading the school project.

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