Michigan: Iraqi Christians join suit to stop construction of mosque in their neighborhood

Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Sterling Heights, Michigan, and its Mayor, Michael C. Taylor, alleging violations of federal and state law. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of seven residents of the City who oppose the construction of a Mosque in their largely Chaldean Christian neighborhood.

Last month, the City decided not to defend against the specious claims made by the American Islamic Community Center (AICC) in its lawsuit filed against the City in August 2016, but instead to enter into a Consent Judgment that granted AICC permission to build the Mosque even though doing so violated the City’s zoning ordinance. The decision to enter into the Consent Judgment was made during a City Council meeting held on February 21, 2017. During this meeting, the City Mayor engaged in conduct that AFLC alleges in its lawsuit violated the U.S. Constitution and the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

This past Friday, March 10, the district court judge presiding over AICC’s federal lawsuit signed the Consent Judgment and closed the case. By doing so, the judge effectively authorized the City to violate its zoning ordinance by allowing the construction of the Mosque. AFLC’s lawsuit alleges that this was improper and is asking in its lawsuit that the court declare the Consent Judgment invalid and unenforceable.

AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise commented,

“The City’s decision to enter into the Consent Judgment was a fait accompli. The City Council meeting was a compete sham. Indeed, this meeting was not an example of democracy in action; it was an example of a naked abuse of government power.”

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