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Sheepshead Bay mosque

Storobin: Mosque can be a security concern

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State Sen. David Storobin has joined the hopeless fight against a mosque being built in Sheepshead Bay — a battle that’s been repeatedly quashed in the courts and has left political insiders believing that the newly minted legislator is more concerned with winning votes than helping mosque opponents.

Storobin fired off a letter to Mayor Bloomberg last week, claiming that the house of worship is thumbing its nose at city laws and threatens its neighbors’ lives.

“This may pose a danger to public safety,” Storobin (R—Brighton Beach) wrote as he bashed the city for allowing work on a house of worship continue.

Yet political insiders say Storobin is using the mosque fight to strengthen his image as a right-wing conservative — something that will help him in the race for a new Midwood district peopled with conservative Orthodox Jews.

“He thinks being further to the right is more helpful to him in getting elected than being for diversity is,” said political analyst Hank Sheinkopf. “Will it matter ultimately? No.”

Storobin refuted Sheinkopf’s allegations, saying he’s more interested that the law is being followed.

“I just want to make sure that the concerns of the citizens are answered,” he said. “The opposition isn’t to who is building it, but to what is being built.”

Storobin’s letter discussed a variety of issues regarding the Islamic religious center, including the fact that it will accommodate between 200 to 300 people at a time while providing no parking. With prayers occurring five times a day, the mosque could see 1,500 people per day, Storobin claims.

The letter closes with concerns over the mosque’s backer, The Muslim American Society. Storobin said the organization has been the subject of numerous federal investigations due to its alleged support of Hamas and Hezbollah, which are listed as terrorist organizations by the US State Department.

Members of the Bay People, who have been fighting the construction of the mosque since owner Ahmed Allowey bought the single-home property it sits on near Nostrand Avenue, and have lost numerous court battles to have the project quashed — cheered Storobin’s intervention.

“He understands the needs of his neighbors,” said Bay People spokesman Victor Benari. “He’s strongly against this construction, and against this organizati­on.”

Mosque leaders feel that Storobin is risking his political future by backing the Bay People.

“Some [politicians] want to take the risk to please some people in the neighborhood, but it will come back to haunt them,” said Allowey. “Any opposition he faces down the line will bring this up. ”

Storobin is not the first politician to act on behalf of the Bay People: Borough President Markowitz sent a letter to the mayor in regards to the Sheepshead Bay Mosque, highlighting the group’s concerns. Rep. Bob Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay) met with members of the Bay People and sent letters asking the Department of Buildings to intercede on the group’s behalf, Benari says.

Opponents say that traffic and parking are their driving concerns in demanding that the mosque close, but the tenor of their rallies has been more anti-Islamic rather than anti-congestion.

Neighbors protesting the mosque often held signs reading, “Islam not welcome here,” “New York is not Islamabad” and “Do not forget 9-11!”

One resident even claimed he was going to “blow up the mosque” if it was built.

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Reader Feedback

Sulayman from Tudor City says:
What an idiot. Imagine the outcry if someone claimed a new synagogue was a "danger to public safety." This is bigotry plain and simple. Un-American.
July 25, 2012, 4:35 am
no parking from mosque says:
When a Mosque has events, they bring dozens of cars. Where will they park?
July 25, 2012, 8:27 am
Cyrus from Harlem says:
What a knucklehead.
July 25, 2012, 10:05 am
gns from sheepshead bay says:
All of the people are invited to come to the neighborhood and see what's going on. Is it better to cover your face by the mask of political correctness? Or name the things by own name?
All of you if you have your property - please call immediately to the city and ask to give a permits to build oversized construction next to your bedroom, we will talk then.
July 25, 2012, 2:55 pm
gregory from Brooklyn says:
Bravo David ! Jewish people stand up and fight against The Hamas Center next to you buildings
July 25, 2012, 3:53 pm
Lenny from Sheepshead Bay says:
Sulayman from Tudor City,
One reason for my concern is the case of young Muslim who used to live in neighborhood.
He was caught in Kosovo in 2009 preparing to fight coalition forces. He got 27 years for his terrorist activities. On the other hand we havr Hasidic, Reformed, Conservative, Sephardic, and Libavitch Jew. All of them are different and all living side by side. Very different from the place you know where. I am fully supporting David Storobin.
July 25, 2012, 4:59 pm
Jacob Cohen from Great Neck says:
The actions of State Sen. David Storobin and the Members of the Bay People is plainly racist, sexist and antisemitic. The Mosque should be permitted to be built and used as a house of worship in Sheepshead Bay. People should stop complaining about the Mosque.
July 26, 2012, 4:38 am
Jerry Klaus from Sheepshead Bay says:
Go jump off a bridge Senator! You and those who share your hateful beliefs are the REAL threat to this country
July 26, 2012, 2:34 pm
Elias from Another State says:
Sulayman often posts comments on the Gothamist blog belittling Jewish people and spouting anti-Israel diatribe. He's easy to spot with that horrible looking "Binder & Binder" style hat.
July 27, 2012, 4:53 am
rjc116 from CA says:
I've been reading about this case for a long time. Building code violations, stop work orders ignored, inappropriately massive building on a tiny residential street, deceptive building plans to avoid requirements for parking. What a nightmare for a nice street and people who simply want to preserve the quality of their lives. On top of everything they are accused of being racists. What they are are law abiding citizens!
Keep fighting and congrats to Mr. Storobin for his courage and commitment.
July 27, 2012, 4:34 pm
Sarah from Richmond Hill says:
The residents and Mr. Ahmed need to meet at some sort of midpoint here. There needs to be some space set aside for parking. The residents need to stop with the anti-Islam displays because the children who are afraid to walk by a mosque will not be able to overcome their fear if they believe that there is good reason for it. Also, it is not just a mosque: it is an Islamic community center. This is a lot like the YMCA. There would be recreational activities open to people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. The widespread bigotry is what will lead to the downfall of religious freedom, not a small mosque in Sheepshead Bay.
Dec. 16, 2012, 11:29 pm

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