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Mosque co-founder speaks after judge orders to approve plans for first-ever mosque in Desoto County, Mississippi

“I think everybody was scared of the unknown, this would be the first mosque in DeSoto County."

DESOTO COUNTY, Mississippi — A federal judge has now ordered Horn Lake to approve plans for the city’s first mosque in Desoto County, Mississippi.  

The judge said the city’s denial of zoning approval violated federal law. 

The Abraham House of God is a mosque that’s been fighting for its right to be built. The mosque’s co-founder Riyadh Elkhayyat said when it came to the mosque, the Horn Lake aldermen were against it. 

“I think that they were worried about traffic and noise. From the first meeting we told them there’s not going to be any noise, there’s no loudspeaker,” said Elkhayyat. “I don’t know how this rumor came about.”

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in November claiming that the aldermen denied the mosque even though it was located in an area zoned for houses of worship. 

“I think the city has realized they made an error and it was corrected.”

According to the ACLU, one alderman said the city only rejected the site plan “because they’re Muslims.”

“I think everybody was scared of the unknown, this would be the first mosque in DeSoto County,” said Elkhayyat. “So I think a lot of people I think were feeling uncomfortable. 

The co-founder is relieved his family and other Muslims will have a place to freely worship without discrimination.

“I think they realized there is a constitution, there are rights for other faiths they kind of corrected their error.”

Construction is set to begin in the spring.