The Department of Justice files discrimination cases against U.S. towns for denying mosques.
The city of Sterling Heights, Michigan is facing a legal suit due to the rejection of a plea by the area’s Muslims to build a mosque. The U.S. Department of Justice has called this discriminatory decision an infringement of the Muslims’ constitutional rights and has filed a case in a U.S. District Court in Detroit.
After the elections, tensions were running high among America’s Muslims about the possibility of laws discriminating against them and the rise in crimes. The community’s fears proved to be true by the sudden shoot of anti-Islamic crimes that occurred throughout the U.S. after Trump won. Islamophobic sentiments, however, had begun to brew much before the elections, ever since Trump had started campaigning. Muslims in America feel that today, it’s more difficult to be a Muslim in the U.S. than it was after the 9/11.
A lawsuit by the Department of Justice has also been filed against Culpepper County, Virginia for denying an Islamic center a sewage permit. The city currently does not have a mosque and Muslims of the city pray in a “small house on the site of a used car dealership”. The closest mosque to the area is 45-minute drive. The community faces a lot of trouble on Muslim festivals such as Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr, as the whole community tries to cram itself into the limited space that is available for them.
U.S. Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. of the Western District of Virginia said in a statement, “Religious liberty is a fundamental right in our country and this case seeks to uphold that right. We will continue to work with the experienced lawyers with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to protect the residents of the Western District of Virginia from unlawful discrimination.”
— Kevin J. Hardy (@kevinjhardy) December 15, 2016
The authorities of Sterling Heights, however, expressed their surprise at the lawsuit. The city claims that it is a ‘vibrant’ community that is open to all cultures. The city also pointed out that it already has two mosques, a Sikh Gurdwara, a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, and Christian churches of various denominations. The city authorities also insisted that they are very conscious about their cultural diversity, as is displayed every year by their hosting of the Cultural Exchange program, which also includes the display of Islamic heritage.
This is not the only kind of its case, however. Recently, the building of an Islamic school in Pittsfield Township and building of mosques in West Bloomfield, Plymouth, and Warren have faced opposition too.
- International Times
- The United States Department of Justice
- Michigan Live
- World Religion News