Lino Lakes City Council votes in favor of moratorium on Mosque-centric development

Following this initial vote in favor of the moratorium, the City Council will meet again on July 8 to hold a final, determining vote on the moratorium.

A 40,000 square foot mosque, costing $15 million to build, would be the centerpiece of the proposed community. (Madinah Lakes website)

The Lino Lakes City Council has voted 4-1 to postpone development of a new residential community centered around a mosque, with a final vote to decide the moratorium coming on July 8.

The development, with the proposed name of “Madinah Lakes,” was slated to cover 156 acres in Lino Lakes’ northwest quadrant. 434 housing units, businesses, and a grocery store, along with the $15 million, 40,000 square foot mosque at its center, were to be built on an area formerly dedicated to sod farming. The community was specifically marketed as “Masjid-Centric” in reference to the mosque.

As Alpha News has previously reported, Zikar Holdings, the company which will be responsible for developing the project, registered with the secretary of state in December 2023, and only has future projects featured on its website, with no completed developments.

Scores of people have offered their input on the development project, both in favor and against it proceeding. Concerns expressed by Lino Lakes’ residents were multi-faceted, with some concerned that “this development is being marketed to one specific demographic, and that has one intention and one outcome” while others expressed opposition to any kind of development in Lino Lakes generally.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations for Minnesota (CAIR MN) sent representatives to express support for the development project. CAIR MN claimed that opposition to the development was “fueled by Islamophobic sentiments” while other supporters of the project argued “comments couched in too much traffic and too much density” were really “a lot of Islamophobia.” Furthermore, several people, including the architect, said Madinah Lakes would be open to anyone and would not cater exclusively to Muslims.

Some community members took umbrage with this assertion, with one declaring that CAIR MN was attempting to “paint the residents’ current concerns as unprecedented and xenophobic. The members of the council know that isn’t true.” Resident Jason Sonnek further observed, “build the mosque, just a mosque on that land. I’d be so excited I’ll make a donation to your cause. Our fear is not of Muslims, it’s of over-building and excess population density that will destroy the character of the community we love.”

Following this initial vote in favor of the moratorium, the City Council will meet again on July 8 to hold a final, determining vote on the moratorium. If passed, the moratorium on the development would go into effect in August and remain in place for one year.


Evan Poellinger

Evan Poellinger, the Alpha News Summer 2024 Journalism Fellow, is a native Minnesotan with a lifelong passion for history and politics. He previously worked as a journalism intern with the American Spectator and an investigative journalism fellow with the Media Research Center. He is a graduate of College of the Holy Cross with degrees in political science and history.