Mosque Development In America'S Suburbs: Lessons For Conflict Management And Public Policy From Three Case Studies

Other Titles


MOSQUE DEVELOPMENT IN AMERICA'S SUBURBS: LESSONS FOR CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND PUBLIC POLICY FROM THREE CASE STUDIES KATHLEEN E. FOLEY, PHD CORNELL UNIVERSITY, 2012 This dissertation asks what factors motivate and mitigate conflict around mosque developments proposed by Muslim American faith communities of immigrant origin in America's suburbs- areas which, since the early 1990s and because of emerging immigrant settlement patterns, have experienced the greatest increase in mosque development as well as the most incidents of related turmoil. Using a case study approach, the work examines the importance of traditional land use concerns in these proposals, as well as fears and biases formed in response to the post-September 11th, 2001 geopolitical climate. The study finds that the latter, although headline-catching, are not necessarily the leading motivations for resisting mosque development. Comparative analysis determines that strategies used to address and overcome exclusionary tactics mounted against low-income housing developments, mental health facilities, utilities and other locally unwanted land uses are applicable to conflict management in mosque proposals. The findings further establish the importance of proactively accommodating religious land uses in comprehensive planning exercises, and identifies the utility of the process requirements of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) as neutralizing agents in tense and emotionally-charged hearing environments. Public planners and municipal officials well-trained and experienced in conflict management and religious land use stewardship are shown to be more effective agents in mitigating conflict than those without the same skill set. For faith communities, the positive influence of careful site selection, neighborhood outreach and education efforts, interfaith coalition building and ongoing civic engagement is revealed. Additionally, the research explores the ways that conflict and negotiation in public review processes are influencing the design choices of Muslim American communities and shaping the form of the mosque in the United States.

Journal / Series

Volume & Issue



Date Issued




mosque; islamic center; United States; development; construction; suburbs; conflict resolution; land use; rluipa


Effective Date

Expiration Date




Union Local


Number of Workers

Committee Chair

Pendall, Rolf J.

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Woods, Mary Norman
Toorawa, Shawkat M.

Degree Discipline

City and Regional Planning

Degree Name

Ph. D., City and Regional Planning

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

Related Version

Related DOI

Related To

Related Part

Based on Related Item

Has Other Format(s)

Part of Related Item

Related To

Related Publication(s)

Link(s) to Related Publication(s)


Link(s) to Reference(s)

Previously Published As

Government Document




Other Identifiers


Rights URI


dissertation or thesis

Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Hazard

Accessibility Summary

Link(s) to Catalog Record