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Published: Friday, 1/28/2011

California city overrules objections to new mosque

TEMECULA, Calif. — City Council has voted to allow about 150 Muslim families to build a mosque in Temecula after months of angry debate over the plan that included protests and letter-writing campaigns.

The council voted 4-0 Wednesday to approve the project after a nine-hour meeting that ended after 3:30 a.m.

The vote came despite fears from opponents that the Islamic Center of Temecula could bring extremist activity and traffic woes to the region in Riverside County, about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

The Islamic Center was formed in 1998, and its members have worshipped in a warehouse for a decade. The group plans to build a 25,000-square-foot, two-story mosque that will be constructed in two stages and will feature domes topped with crescent moons.

The Planning Commission approved the project in December, but a resident appealed to the City Council, arguing other houses of worship were held to more stringent land-use requirements — a claim rebuffed by city officials.

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