In the wake of President Barack Obama paying an unprecedented visitation to an American mosque earlier this year, a group of Muslims is suing a Michigan city for unanimously voting to reject plans for a mega-mosque in the middle of a residential area.
Claiming that the Obama administration is showing indications of being more than happy to back them in their lawsuit against the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan, Muslims followed through on their earlier vow to challenge the vote by suing local officials for allegedly violating their civil rights by rejecting their mosque.
The rejection of the super-sized building in a smaller residential neighborhood spurred an overflow crowd of residents last fall to celebrate and enthusiastically shout with sighs of relief — as captured on video — once the results of the vote were announced by the Sterling Heights planning commission.
However, the Obama administration’s pro-Muslim agenda in the midst of the ongoing Islamic terrorist threats in the U.S. surfaced again in this matter, as it applied pressure on city officials to allow the mosque or face legal action.
“[T]he Obama Department of Justice was secretly trying to intimidate the city earlier this year and now that appears to have been the case all along,” WND reported. “The DOJ weighed in publicly Wednesday after the suit was filed with its own threatening language.”
Confirmation of the White House’s involvement in the matter was recently announced.
“The Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office have been conducting an independent investigation, and that investigation is ongoing,” U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade informed the Free Press, according to WND.
Mosques on the rise in U.S.
Even though Michigan didn’t make the top five list for the states with the most mosques in America — California is first with 525, followed by New York (507), Texas (302), Illinois (200) and Florida (153) — it stands at a close sixth place with 139 mosques. New Jersey is the only other state with more than 100 (103).
And the numbers from coast to coast are consistently rising, especially with Obama in office.
“The U.S. now has more than 3,100 mosques and at least 80 percent of them have been opened since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks,” WND’s Leo Hohmann informed. “On Sept. 11, 2001, there were less than 300 mosques in the U.S. and by the end of 2015 there were more than 3,000, according to Salatomatic. A new mosque opens somewhere in America every week. Obama’s Justice Department has aggressively filed civil charges, or threatened to sue almost any city that denies a mosque a permit to build.”
Along with the increase in mosques in America comes an increase in suspected Islamic terrorist activity, as the DOJ reports that the percentage of federal DOJ investigation into mosques or Islamic schools jumped 15 percent between 2000 and August 2010, compared to 38 percent between September 2010 and now.
Discrimination or security measures?
The Muslim group suing the Michigan city claims that those planning to build the mosque are victims of discrimination.
“In the Sterling Heights lawsuit, the American Islamic Community Center accuses the city of being biased against Muslims, citing e-mails from city officials that talked about the possibility of having the mosque’s leaders investigated for involvement in terrorism,” Hohmann explained. “In one e-mail, a police official asks whether the FBI can be contacted to see whether the mosque leaders are ‘on their radar.’”
Yet the city of Sterling Heights maintains that its rejection of the oversized building has little to do with its intended religious use.
“City officials and residents have said their rejection of the mosque was not based on bigotry, noting that the city already has a mosque,” WND’s Hohmann explained. “Rather, they said it had to do with concerns that the location off 15 Mile Road was not suitable for such a large building and could cause traffic problems. The mosque was proposed at 21,000 square feet with large towers for minarets. The mosque leaders said they would consider downsizing the project but it was still rejected.”
Backing the city’s argument, it is noted that looking into the issue uncovers the fact that the rejection of non-Muslim houses of worship — especially Christian churches and Jewish synagogues — by city officials is not uncommon at all.
“A quick Google search reveals that it happens almost every day in one city or another,” Hohmann added. “Very few end up in litigation compared to the mosque rejections, an attorney specializing in these issues told WND.”
In addition, city officials in Michigan have reportedly had valid reasons in the past for not moving mosque plans forward.
“This is not the first time residents in Michigan have stood up and voiced their opposition to mosques invading their neighborhoods,” the WND reporter pointed out. “The DOJ last year filed suit against Pittsfield Township after it denied an Islamic school a permit, and the leader of the Ann Arbor mosque seeking to build the school had once been investigated by the FBI for possible involvement with one of the Sept. 11 hijackers.”
Diverse reasons for the rejection of the mosque are given from both sides of the lawsuit.
“Residents who opposed the Sterling Heights mosque have said the building would be in a residential area that would cause traffic congestion, noise and activity not suitable to the area,” Hohmann said. “Some residents also expressed concerns about rising tensions between the Iraqi Chaldean Christians living in Sterling Heights and the growing Muslim community. [However,] the lawsuit cites comments from residents at public hearings in an attempt to show that residential opposition was based on ‘anti-Islam’ bias.”
Many are concerned that the influx of Muslims into Michigan are intentional and government-coerced.
“Dick Manasseri, an activist and spokesman for the anti-Shariah watchdog group Secure Michigan, said there are already more than 7,000 Muslims living in Oakland and Macomb counties,” WND informed. “And that figures to rise substantially with Obama’s ongoing importation of Syrian refugees into the area. These two counties have already received more than 750 Syrians just since Oct. 1 of last year, according to the U.S. State Department Refugee Processing Center.”
In fact, the Obama administration has reportedly been busy using taxpayer money to leverage Muslims from abroad into the Wolverine State.
“Most of the Muslims moving into Sterling Heights, Madison Heights, Troy and the surrounding area have been imported by the federal government’s refugee resettlement program, which pays Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services to settle them in apartments and affordable housing,” Hohmann divulged. “Others have been brought in on green cards by area universities such as Wayne State and Oakland University.”
Playing the race card?
Despite all the concerns expressed by residents and city officials, the Muslim group suing the city cites racism as the main motivator behind the rejection of the mosque.
“With a vociferous and racist member of the Planning Commission leading the charge, the Planning Commission voted to reject the site plan,” the lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Detroit reads. “With no other choice, the American Islamic Community Center has filed this suit seeking equitable relief to build the Mosque and seeks damages as the City of Sterling Heights’ conduct violates, among other things, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act … and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
Pointing to the city’s uncommonly high acceptance of racial diversity in the region, the accusation of racism in the suit has been deemed as ironic by Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor.
“Taylor has boasted in the past about how his city respects ‘diversity,’” Hohmann stressed. “About 23 percent of the residents of the city are immigrants, one of the highest percentages among cities in southeastern Michigan, the Free Press reported. It has the nation’s largest Iraqi-American Christian community, some of whom escaped Islamic butchers in Iraq only to find out there’s a mosque being built in close proximity to their neighborhoods.”
But an attorney representing those behind the building of the mosque in the lawsuit argues that Sterling Heights is not nearly as accepting as it should be.
“Islamophobia (is) alive and well in Sterling Heights,” the Muslim attorney tweeted last week.