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Islamic group's plan to cut off crosses draws ire

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Some neighbors and former parishioners of a century-old Catholic church are protesting plans to remove six crosses from the roof and spires so the now-vacant Gothic structure can be used as a Muslim mosque.

More than 200 people have signed an online petition calling on the Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board to deny an application by North Side Learning Center, the church's new owner, to remove the crosses and build a six-foot chain-link fence.

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Yusuf Soule, director of the non-profit literacy learning center, says an Islamic group wants to lease the church and use it for a mosque. He told the Syracuse Post-Standard the crosses must be removed because Islam doesn't allow the worship of idols or symbols.

The issue goes before the landmark board Thursday morning.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

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