Zoning Issues or Islamophobia? Community Says 'No' to New Mosque

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A Muslim woman holds a cell phone with a U.S. flag cover as Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. speaks after attending Friday prayers at Dar al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church, Va., Friday, Dec. 4, 2015.
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Officials cited zoning issues as the reason for voting down a proposed mosque in Bayonne, New Jersey this week. But after months of increasingly contentious community conversations in the lead-up to the vote, many supporters say this was a religiously motivated decision fueled by fear of Muslims.

WNYC Reporter Matt Katz has been covering the Bayonne debate, and says this is just one of a number of similar controversies nationwide. What are normally routine zoning approvals for mosques have taken on a sharp political charge.

Under President Obama, the Justice Department went after a number of cities and localities for religious discrimination in similar cases. But under the new Trump Administration, many fear there may be little recourse for Muslim communities in cities like Bayonne.

Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear the full report from Matt Katz.