The city council of Lilburn, Georgia, changed its tune last night, voting 3-1 to approve expansion plans for a local mosque that it had blocked for nearly two years, after the federal Justice Department said it would investigate the town. Residents packed into City Hall for the meeting, with nearly 200 waiting outside for an hour to get in, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Of those who spoke, 11 opposed the mosque’s expansion, while 2 supported it.
“Our neighbors might be mad now, but we love them,” said one of the mosque’s founders. “Our arms are open to them.” The mosque wants to buy more land to accommodate a gymnasium, a cemetery, and a larger worship center, but the town board has repeatedly blocked its zoning requests. Now that the request has been approved, Dar-E-Abbas says it will drop its federal discrimination lawsuit—though the Justice Department still intends to conduct its investigation.