Sheepshead Bay mosque becomes a political pawn

TRD New York /
Jul.July 26, 2012 01:30 PM

Despite having won court support, a controversial mosque being built in Sheepshead Bay has found a fresh opponent in State Senator David Storobin, who is currently running for reelection in the new Midwood district – populated mostly by ultra-conservative Orthodox Jews, Brooklyn Daily reported. Residents had already attacked the mosque with a myriad of charges, including zoning violations that were unanimously dismissed by the Board of Standards and Appeals last year. The fact that it is extremely unlikely that Storobin could have any effect on the board’s decision has led many to speculate that the incumbent is merely vying for votes in a right-wing district.

“He thinks being further to the right is more helpful to him in getting elected than being for diversity is,” Hank Sheinkopf, a political analyst, said. “Will it matter ultimately? No.” But last week Storobin sent off a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, calling the mosque a “danger to public safety.” The community is concerned that no new parking is planned on the site even as the structure is expected to accommodate 200 to 300 people for services.

Storobin claims he is not opposed to “who” is building it, but in his letter to Bloomberg he raises concerns that the mosque is backed by the Muslim American Society, which allegedly supports Hezbollah and Hamas. The latter concern has revived local anti-islamic vitriol. Local mosque protestors have been seen with signs reading, “Islam not welcome here,” “New York is not Islamabad” and “Do not forget 9-11!” [Brooklyn Daily] — Christopher Cameron

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