Cobb County homeowners protest Muslim cemetery

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A couple dozen homeowners took to protesting Tuesday afternoon over a cemetery being built in their neighborhood.

The protestors told FOX 5 News they are furious that the 12-and-a-half plot of land is scheduled to be built as a cemetery without them having any say about it.

The newly approved Muslim cemetery is being built on MacLand Road in Powder Springs, where heavy machinery was busy clearing the land Tuesday. People said they have no problem with the religion, just the fact that the cemetery was approved.

"I think that's what hurts more so than anything because unfortunately this is our society today, it seems like everything is, you know, sliding by," said Darren Sanders, who is opposed to the cemetery.

Homeowners brought their concerns to Tuesday morning's Cobb County Board of Commissioners meeting, only to learn the East Cobb Islamic Center, followed all regulations, getting approval from the Community Development Agency without public notice or board approval. The commissioners then approved a nearly yearlong moratorium on cemetery permits. However, it does not apply to the new cemetery.

"We have no recourse, they may attempt to do whatever they like to do," said Cobb County Commissioner Bob Weatherford.

He said the moratorium will allow the county to study outdated rules used when the last cemetery was built thirty years ago. Of little comfort to home owners in the Vineyard Place subdivision and others adjoining the cemetery.

"It's going to affect people's property values, basically that's it for me," said  Darren Sanders.

Frankie Minter who lives nearby was among the group protesting.

"So what we want is somebody to tell us what they're going to do here, so we know," said Minter

Abdul Amer with the East Cobb Islamic Center said the six to seven thousand plot cemetery will include landscaping and other measures to beautify the property.

"We do have plans to include 50 feet landscape buffers," said Amer.

He said he has already met with some residents who are concerned over the cemetery and is willing to meet again whenever necessary.

"We want to be good neighbors and we're willing to listen and we're willing to do what we can to address any reasonable concerns," said Amer.

He said the cemetery should be open for its first burial sometime in the fall.

Residents protesting said they will continue to try to derail the cemetery construction, adding they will go to court if necessary.