Rumored mosque in Port St. Lucie sparks controversy

City leaders say no plan to build mosque
Posted at 11:54 PM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 09:23:01-04

There is no official plan or proposal to open a Mosque in Port St. Lucie. But, that did not stop people from speaking out at a city commission meeting Monday to tell city leaders they would never support one group's hopes to open a mosque on Gatlin Boulevard.

According to Port St. Lucie city leaders, the idea has developed no further than the creation of a GoFundMe page by the Treasure Coast Islamic Society.

On the page, it details a goal of raising $200,000 to open a mosque.

It reads, “We, Muslim community of Port Saint Lucie and Stuart are looking into buying a Church at Gatlin Area under a new non-profit organization (Treasure Coast Islamic Society) to use as Masjid and Weekend Islamic School. Please HELP.”

The page, as of Monday night, had only raised $4,600 of that goal.

Mayor Greg Oravec says there is no plan or proposal that has been submitted to the city for a mosque.

However, the city would not necessarily need to approve it.

City spokeswoman Sarah Prohaska released the following statement on behalf of the city:

The city has not received any applications or plans of any nature related to a mosque in the city.  If an application for a mosque would be proposed, it would be treated like any other relevant application.  A federal law prohibits the City Council from discriminating based upon religion.  If a mosque is proposed in a vacant store front, then the mosque would be treated like any other tenant and no approvals would be needed from City Council unless the size exceed 3,000 square feet.

Hateful rhetoric toward Muslims resulted on Facebook as talk of a possible mosque spread quickly.

That’s also where supporters of the religion heard about a planned protest at Monday’s city commission meeting, and decided to attend to express that they would support a mosque in the city.

“It hurts. It hurts to know that hate is so strong and it’s hate because it’s fear,” said Port St. Lucie resident, Angel French.

She listened to comments in opposition to the mosque.
“They’re going to be a big problem.”

“15 percent of the population seeks to destroy and kill you and me. As you go to bed tonight, they’re trying to figure out ways to do that.”
“We don’t need to hear five times a day their prayer. Their culture. You don’t do it here. We are American.”

Oravec told opponents their concerns were baseless.

“Take your comments about the mosque, replace them with one of the other places of worship, say it out loud and it if sounds wrong, it is wrong.”

Supporters hoped to drown out the anti-Islamic statements with some messages of support to the local Muslim community, should the idea of a mosque make progress.
 “I want them as neighbors, I welcome them to my community.”