(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/11/15) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on political and religious leaders in Michigan and nationwide to repudiate the anti-Muslim hate expressed at a public hearing on a proposal to build a mosque in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Last night, the Sterling Heights planning commission voted 9-0 to reject a proposal to build the first mosque in that city. When Muslim attendees left the hearing, they were forced to walk through a gauntlet of jeering mosque opponents. CAIR has received reports of Muslim attendees being spat upon and a Muslim religious leader (imam) being interviewed by a television station outside the hearing had to be escorted away from threatening protesters.
“The hateful climate against Muslims in Sterling Heights has raised safety concerns for community members,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIRâ€™s Michigan chapter (CAIR-MI).
â€œThe ugly scenes witnessed at last nightâ€™s hearing, and the un-American bigotry they represent, should be repudiated by political and religious leaders in Michigan and nationwide,â€ said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. â€œThis attempt to deny religious freedom is a form of mob rule and contradicts the values and laws we hold dear as Americans.â€
He said CAIRâ€™s Michigan chapter had previously expressed concern over the â€œimproperâ€ opposition by the mayor of Sterling Heights to the mosque and about anti-Muslim comments by residents voiced in previous city government meetings.
CAIR-MI says it will contact the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) about the cityâ€™s potential violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalize Persons Act (RLUIPA).
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, email@example.comÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â