STOCKTON -- It appeared to be a routine planning matter Thursday, one that would normally put everyone to sleep.
After all, San Joaquin County planners were recommending that a hearing to build an Islamic school in southwest Lodi be postponed indefinitely to address traffic concerns.
Yet some 80 Muslims from Lodi attended Thursday's county Planning Commission meeting to make a statement -- they oppose plans by Mohammad Adil Khan to build the Islamic school, proposed on the east side of Lower Sacramento Road between Harney Lane and Armstrong Road.
For the record, the county Planning Commission postponed Khan's use permit application so that county transportation engineers can work out traffic issues with Khan.
But the real action took place outside the meeting in the parking lot, where Muslims discussed what has turned into inner turmoil at the Lodi Muslim Mosque.
"We're not against the Islamic center," said Safdar Khan, a Lodi Muslim Mosque member and no relation to Mohammad Adil Khan. "It's the way (Mohammad Adil Khan) is doing things. He's dividing our community."
Relations have become so ugly within the mosque that Mohammad Adil Khan has been forbidden from leading prayer services at the mosque on East Poplar Street, according to mosque President Mohammad Shoaib.
Depending on whom you talk to, Mohammad Adil Khan was imam, or pastor, of the Lodi Muslim Mosque for about two years beginning in 2001.
But a new mosque board, led by Shoaib, took over in November and appointed Shabbir Ahmed as the new imam. Shoaib told the News-Sentinel on Wednesday that he fired Mohammad Adil Khan in January.
It was also stated that Mohammad Adil Khan was never imam of the Lodi mosque in the first place -- however the previous leadership continually introduced him to the media as the imam, according to Safdar Khan.
Mohammad Adil Khan acknowledged Wednesday afternoon that he was no longer imam of the mosque, although he remains imam of the Farooqia Islamic Center on Lower Sacramento Road, which already contains a 2,650-square-foot library.
Contacted at his home after the meeting, Mohammad Adil Khan said he was busy and could not comment. Former mosque President Nasim Khan, who attended the Planning Commission meeting, said he couldn't comment until he discussed the issue with the Islamic school's steering committee.
Two phases are planned for the Farooqia Islamic Center, the first being a 1,600-square-foot temporary tent for worshipping and fund raising along with the classrooms. In the second phase, the tent would be replaced by a 12,900-square-foot worship hall to accommodate 400.
Before the present mosque leadership supports the proposed Islamic school on Lower Sacramento Road, they said they want some questions answered on the project's finances and where money they have donated for the school project has gone.
The Farooqia Islamic Center is under separate ownership from the mosque, with Mohammad Adil Khan listed as the applicant for the Islamic school.
In other action, county Planning Commissioners recommended to the Board of Supervisors that the general plan be amended to give more flexibility on where fire stations in unincorporated San Joaquin County can be located.
The issue came to a head with development of the Mountain House, which plans call for more than 15,000 homes northwest of Tracy.
Concerning a Lockeford matter, commissioners granted a five-year time extension for developer Ed Pestana to construct Lockeford Oaks, a 307-home subdivision planned at the northeast corner of Brandt and Jack Tone roads. The Planning Commission has already approved the subdivision.