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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

South Bay Islamic Center Hopes City Reconsiders Mosque Renovations

Members of the mosque filed a lawsuit against the city of Lomita to allow renovations for their mosque.


Members of a South Bay Mosque hope the city of Lomita will reconsider an application to renovate their mosque (Photo courtesy ATVN).
Members of a South Bay Mosque hope the city of Lomita will reconsider an application to renovate their mosque (Photo courtesy ATVN).
who pray at the Islamic Center of South Bay are hoping the city will reconsider the Mosque's application to renovate.

"Please help us get our mosque, that's it, that's all we want," said Abed Belluce.

These people may be one step closer to their goal.
"We Believe that there was no justification for the denial and so we are filing today to challenge that denial," said project Attorney Anne Richardson.

But the city says the project would violate building codes.

"The total development package was denied ultimately by the city council as requiring too many changes to the zoning ordinance and not fitting well within the neighborhood," said Lomita City Attorney Christi Hogin.

The Council on American-Islamic relations in L.A. filed a lawsuit that demands the city allow renovations to the mosque. They say the city is discriminating against Muslims by violating their freedom of religion.

"We don't see any reason why we have to be tortured and stay with what we have and not be able to do what every other community has done," said Mosque renovatio project manager, Dr. Iraj Ershaghi.

But the city attorney says the denial had nothing to do with discrimination.

"Their frustration and claims of discrimination are unfortunate in part because the typical way of getting development in the city is to get a permit from the city," said Hogin.

The mosque project manager says they had planned to demolish current buildings, expand the parking structure and combine the smaller building into one larger building.

Mosque members say their prayer room is too small for people to pray comfortably and wash rooms for their feet are too far away.

"When you're trying to stay in a state of cleanliness for prayer and have to travel from a bathroom with puddles to a clean prayer space it's nearly impossible,"said American-Islamic Relations council member Ameena Qazi.

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