A zoning meeting for a proposed mosque in the city of Bayonne, New Jersey went off the rails after a local opponent railed against Islam for being a “so-called religion.”
WNYC reports that Bayonne’s zoning board on Monday rejected a plan for a proposed mosque, which only gained four out of the five votes that it needed for passage.
During the meeting, several opponents of the mosque lashed out at the plans, and one opponent named Ledia Elraheb went so far as to attack the religion of Islam itself.
“How many children have died under this so called religion?” she yelled out at one point.
However, there were several local residents in attendance who pushed back on these attacks and defended the rights of the city’s Muslim population to have their own place of worship.
“They are entitled to the same religious freedom and the right to assembly that every other tax-paying, law-abiding citizen is entitled to,” said Bayonne resident Melody Carlisle.
And Sumer Elganbaihy, a Muslim college student who was born in Bayonne, said it was time for residents to start learning more about the Islamic faith instead of simply performing Google searches or believing what they hear on talk radio programs.
“We’re not going anywhere — this is our home,” she said. “We are you, we are your business owners, we are your janitors, we are your teachers, and, hopefully, I will be one of your social workers.”
Watch highlights from the meeting below.