- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - City leaders in Mobile are refusing to block the expansion of a mosque in the port city.

The Mobile City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to reject an appeal filed by residents of a subdivision near the Mobile Islamic Center.

The vote reverses an earlier decision to block construction of a new mosque and school near the University of South Alabama campus.

Islamic Center President Shafik Hammami says construction should take about 18 months.

Some residents cited parking and traffic concerns for opposing the expansion. Others cited fears congregation members were linked to terrorism.

Council member Bess Rich cast the lone vote against the expansion. She says she was warned the Justice Department was watching for any possible discrimination.

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