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Islamic center meets resistance in rural Maryland

(WASHINGTON TIMES) A Muslim group’s effort to move its campus from College Park to Maryland’s rural Howard County is being met with opposition from local residents, who say dense construction plans for the site would spoil the quiet character of the area.

Although both sides insist that the debate turns solely on setting zoning precedent, it marks the latest in a series of disputes across the country in which locals have resisted the introduction of Islamic centers to their communities.

The Maryland debate began last summer, when the Dar-us-Salaam community proposed replacing its overcrowded facility. The center would be built on about 66 acres of land once home to a Catholic school 45 miles north of the District. Bordered by thoroughbred horse farms, the property is about a 15-minute drive to the nearest StarbucksWal-Mart or McDonald’s.