BELL, Calif.— Infuriated residents of this small southern California city made a national name for themselves when they ousted three municipal officials after revelations of six-figure salaries. Lesser known is that Bell's citizen revolution is being run from an Islamic community center.
Taxpayer outrage has washed away the wariness that once separated the working-class Roman Catholic and Protestant Latinos who make up Bell's majority and a quietly flourishing minority of Shi'ite Muslims. The nascent unity in Bell—where 100 people meet regularly at the El-Hussein Center about the ongoing scandal—comes amid controversies in other U.S. cities over the construction or expansion of Islamic institutions.
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