The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals has delayed action on a proposal to locate the national headquarters of the American Druze Society in Annandale after Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III contested a ruling that calls the proposed office a "place of worship."
Davis, who represents the area, has said that contrary to the group's application, public statements indicate they plan to use the property, located on Braddock Road near Little River Turnpike, primarily for offices and as a cultural center.
The zoning board is empowered to approve the property as a religious facility, but not as a "public benefit association." Those groups must be approved by the County Board of Supervisors.
The zoning board said it would wait to see if Davis presses his appeal before acting on the proposal. Ramez A. Saab, executive director of the American Druze Society, said yesterday his group is "strictly a religious society" and that a place of worship was "an integral part" of the proposed center.
Davis said yesterday that it was likely he would withdraw his appeal, although he had not yet made a final decision and did not expect to do so until Monday.
The proposal to place the Druze Society's headquarters in Annandale has sparked concern from neighbors, some of whom have expressed fear it might attract terrorist activity.
Following reaction to an article over the community dispute that appeared in the Virginia Weekly July 11, Saab described the Druze as "most honorable people in Lebanon, as elsewhere."
In the article, Saab was quoted as citing differences between Druze in the United States and Lebanon, describing the latter as "terrorists."
However, in an interview Saab said of the Lebanese Druze: "They are good citizens, loyal to the country, and willing to defend it when necessary. But they are in no way terrorists and I deny any allegations to the contrary."