NJ has new ‘welcoming city,’ as another rejects Muslim center
BAYONNE — A North Jersey city rejects a Muslim community center as another votes to become a "welcoming community."
After several hours of comment, the Bayonne Zoning Board voted 4-3 in favor of the application for a Muslim community center on East 24th Street, according to the Jersey Journal. The application needed five votes to pass.
Concerns about the proposal included traffic and parking issues.
As residents and members of the board spoke for and against the center, a resident began to cite Quran verses to oppose the center, which created a tension in the room, according to the report. The meeting was recessed and the public comment session closed before the board took a vote.
Leonia's Borough Council voted Monday to become a "welcoming city," according to NorthJersey.com. The resolution states that the borough "recognizes that it is not a crime to be an illegal immigrant," and that police will not approach someone solely to determine the person's immigration status.
However, police will cooperate with criminal investigations and "share relevant information as requested with federal, state, county and local authorities to keep Leonians safe."
The borough becomes the latest in New Jersey to approve a such a designation. Maplewood approved a resolution in January that expresses the township's "commitment to equal, respectful, and dignified treatment of all people, regardless of their immigration status, and to remain a welcoming community."
President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off federal funds to municipalities that become "sanctuary cities" and outright refuse to cooperate with ICE and other government agencies.
Trump signed an executive order Monday creating a revised travel ban that temporarily bars new visas for citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries. Iraq is no longer on the list. The new ban also suspends the entire U.S. refugee program.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to show that the Zoning Board did not vote against the application, but failed to approve it with the required number of votes.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
More from New Jersey 101.5: