NEW CASTLE, N.Y. – The protest against Upper Westchester Muslim Society’s (UWMS) proposed New Castle mosque has gone digital.
A group calling itself DenyUWMS has created a website calling for the Zoning Board of Appeals to reject the proposal at 130 Pinesbridge Road. The group describes itself as a “consortium of friends and neighbors” who currently stand in opposition against the mosque. A sign promoting the website was placed at the corner of Station and Millwood roads on Wednesday.
“We are very sympathetic to the needs of UWMS, its congregation and its members need for a more suitable place of worship,” reads the site. “There is no denying the fact that they are a growing congregation and their current facility is inadequate to meet their growing community. Simply stated, this proposed site is not suitable for the needs of the UWMS.”
Echoing comments made by residents at the zoning board’s public hearing on July 25, DenyUMS said it is worried about the effects the 24,000 square-foot mosque will have on traffic, wetlands, buffer zones, trees, noise, lighting and more.
UWMS Chair Ali Javed said he was disappointed to learn about the creation of the website and with residents' overall protest of the mosque.
“I mean, come on. We always thought we would work together as neighbors,” Javed said at the public hearing.
He said the polarizing response regarding the mosque is dangerous, and has asked residents to sit down and talk with him about their concerns, rather than continue a “cycle of exaggeration.”
“You are talking about the perceived notion of decreased value on your property,” Javed said. “If you continue this it will decrease. Nobody would want to move into a neighborhood where people are protesting. I believe the easiest way is let’s get together. We can work it out.”