The neighborhood surrounding Gading Road always has been known for its row of Christian churches, most of them built in the 1950s and 1960s to accommodate the rapid growth of nearby housing tracts.

But it has never seen the likes of a minaret before.

That could change now that a group of Fijian Muslims wants to build a domed mosque, capped with four minarets, on a narrow slice of land north of Glassbrook Elementary School.

Mohammed Khan, a longtime Hayward resident who owns the land and is president of the group, said he has spent years raising money and looking for the right spot to establish a local place to worship.

“We really need a place locally,” said Khan, who regularly crosses the Bay with his family to attend a mosque in South San Francisco.

But neighbors are looking warily at the proposal, and several say they believe the mosque will decrease residential property values in their central Hayward neighborhood.

Khan introduced himself, his religious practices and his cultural and ethnic background Monday to a group of about 20 people who live near the property.

But he received a chilly reception when he began to show details of the planned 15,000-square-foot facility.

“Whoever drives down Ventura (Avenue) will see that,” complained one resident, describing how visitors might react upon seeing the towering minarets. “This is going to be at the expense of a lot of us people who put a lot of equity in our homes.”

The resident later declined to give his name, as did some others who are adamantly opposed to the mosque. A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at the Hayward-Seventh Day Adventist Church, next to Khan’s property, said the mosque is “not going to happen” and hung up on the reporter who asked about it.


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