Va. Town Denies Proposed Grade School at Islamic Center

Traffic and safety concerns cited

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    The Dumfries, Va., Town Council has denied allowing the expansion of an Islamic community center to include a grade school at its current site.

    The Badr Community Center has been in the town for about a year and was seeking to add a grade school at its Main Street location, InsideNova.com reported.

    Members of council say the center is welcome to open a small private school, just not at its current location.

    "I would like my neighbors to know, you are welcome in this community and we look forward to working with you in the future," Councilman Willie Toney said in a council meeting last week.

    The proposed school would be for about 20 children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The building already houses a preschool/daycare, a weekend religious school and recreation classes, according to the vice-president of the community center, Alaa Abdelhamid.

    Town Manager Kim Alexander had recommended denying the application over traffic and safety concerns. The area at 17,794 Main Street has been the site of 19 traffic incidents in recent years, according to Alexander.

    The town's staff and planning commission recommended allowing the expansion but with 26 conditions that Badr would have had to meet. Council unanimously rejected that recommendation, InsideNova.com reported.

    "I would like to say that we are truly content with the decision made due to the fact that we believe that everything happens for a reason and God has decreed that this be the destiny of Badr Academy at this point," said Abdelhamid.

    She said the mosque may consider a different location for the school in a few years, but for now they will concentrate of the activities currently offered at the center.