(BALTIMORE, MD, 10/12/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned an Islamophobic campaign mailer sent to homes by Republican candidate David Yungmann, who is campaigning for Howard County Council’s District 5 seat.
The mailer boasts of Yungmann’s having “led opposition to huge school/mosque in the rural west” part of the county.
His campaign website features a testimonial praising Yungmann’s “raising the money, hiring the lawyers and communicating with the citizens” to successfully block a Prince George’s County Muslim community from relocating to a property in Howard County that was reportedly already zoned for a school and church.
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“If Mr. Yungmann expressed the same opposition to a house of worship as an elected official, he could be in violation of the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. “Public officials and those seeking public office should support religious freedom, not seek to restrict that constitutionally-guaranteed right of all Americans.”
She noted that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) obligates government entities to lift burdensome restrictions that needlessly inhibit the ability to use land for religious purposes.
Earlier this month, CAIR’s Legal Defense Fund submitted a statement at a Fairfax County public hearing in support of a mosque in Northern Virginia that has been subjected to unreasonable restrictions. That property was also a former church and had been zoned as such prior to its being acquired by the Islamic center leadership.
SEE: US Mosque Faces Restrictions on Daily Prayers
Chaudry added that CAIR has witnessed an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
CAIR’s 2018 Civil Rights Report, “Targeted,” the organization recorded a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against Muslim Americans from 2016-17, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the same time period.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
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