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Houses for Muslims anger critics in Joppatowne

Project proponents say non-Muslims can buy homes
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Posted at 7:59 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 21:31:38-04

"What's wrong with a Christian or a Jew living down there with them?" said a man who came to the Joppa-Magnolia Fire Hall on Tuesday night who was looking for answers.
    
The prospect of a Muslim-only housing development doesn't sit well with other segments of the Joppatowne community and with half of its lots sold, further building has come to a standstill along Trails Way.

"I'm hoping that they will not be allowed to move forward with this development that 22 or 25 homes were already sold to one segregated group and that they will be turned around," said Gina Pimentel, a realtor in the area.
    
Now with housing discrimination complaints and lawsuits flying back and forth, the head of a home-purchasing organization, Faheem Younus, squared off with the project's critics this week to clear the air.

"The misinformation we're hearing---that somehow this is a Muslim-only community, and that is not true.  We will abide by all the fair housing laws," said Younus.
    
In the Muslim religion, paying interest as you would find with a traditional mortgage is forbidden.
    
An Islamic co-op called Ansar has purchased the lots here and elsewhere in the United States and Canada marketing the properties to Muslims.
    
But Younus says that doesn't mean non-Muslims are excluded.

"...and some people feel like without an approval, we plan to put a mosque there,” said Younus, “No.  That's not true.  We will put a community center there, which will be open to all the people living there---Jews, Christians or Muslims."

It is a vision, Younus claims, for a 55-years-and-older community where people of mixed faiths can play and pray together...

"Lack of knowledge generates anxiety," he adds.

If people can trust the promise of those trying to finish the project.

"I appreciate the fact that you came today, but for me it's going to take some time to have some belief in it all," said one critic is response to the assurances at the meeting.
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The county has maintained a project that laid dormant for a decade... That has now re-surfaced with questions surrounding religious use requires further review before building can resume.