A man fighting the opening of a mosque in his suburban neighborhood filed a lawsuit Tuesday to try and halt construction, a move derided by Arab leaders as anti-Muslim.

Rodney Wright claims the relocation of the Islamic Center of South Florida to a new, larger building in his Pompano Beach neighborhood “presents a substantial harm to the well-being, safety and health” of the community. Wright identifies himself as a Christian.

The lawsuit claims the leader of the mosque, Imam Hassan Sabri, has repeatedly been associated with others who are tied to terrorist groups including Hamas, al-Qaida and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, though the connections outlined in the filing appear loose and there is no accusation of direct wrongdoing.

Sabri has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing and neither he nor his mosque have been the target of any publicized investigation. The imam did not return a call seeking comment.

Larry Klayman, the attorney for Wright, claims the filing does not amount to an anti-Muslim action. But Joe Kaufman, the head of Americans Against Hate, which calls itself a civil rights organization but has been highly critical of major Muslim groups, has worked for Klayman and is identified on his group’s Web site as the lawyer’s special assistant.

In an interview, Klayman initially denied employing Kaufman, though it is affirmed by filings with the Secretary of State’s Office, in which Kaufman was listed as recently as last month as a corporate officer in the Miami firm.

“I’m very much disturbed that in this day and age you’d find people going to such extreme measures to prevent a house of worship from being built in any American city,” said Altaf Ali, executive director of the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. “I look at this as an act of religious intimidation.” . . .

The Islamic Center of South Florida has been in Pompano Beach, about 30 miles north of Miami, for more than 20 years. Klayman became well-known after founding the conservative, Washington-based watchdog group Judicial Watch in 1994 which, at its outset, primarily targeted Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Klayman has also brought cases against Dick Cheney, Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro and the Teamsters. He has even sued his own mother.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.