By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri
When President Donald Trump was inaugurated in 2017, many Americans were overjoyed at the prospect of having an administration that would sweep out the White House, drain the Washington, D.C. Swamp, and recognize that American citizens should be given preferential treatment over illegal aliens and so-called refugees.
“Unfortunately, under a number of Justice Department leaders, Americans are treated like you’d treat an enemy or criminal,” said former federal narcotics enforcement agent, Raoul Ramirez. “It’s gotten to the point that too many political leaders treat citizens as if they are only useful as sources of campaign funds for greedy politicians and their constituents,” said Ramirez.
Last year, the CAIR filed a federal lawsuit accusing Troy, a small city located about 23 miles northwest of Detroit, of discriminatory denial of zoning to a local Muslim organization called Adam Community Center that wants to build a mosque and Islamic community facility. In the complaint CAIR alleges that Troy officials purposefully and unconstitutionally attempted to keep the area’s growing Muslim community from building a mosque within the city by unfair and illegal application of zoning ordinances.
Specifically, the city of Troy Zoning Board of Appeals has discriminated against Adam on the basis of religious denomination, according to the CAIR complaint. “When public officials are apparently guided by Islamophobia in their decision-making, we have an obligation to fight back to preserve our religious freedoms,” a CAIR attorney said when the lawsuit was filed in November U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
This month the DOJ got involved, filing its own lawsuit against Troy officials for denying the Muslim group a permit to construct a community center and place of worship. The feds accuse Troy of violating a 2000 law known as the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which protects individuals, houses of worship and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws. Ironically, the law was signed only months before the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
RLUIPA forbids government from imposing a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition is in furtherance of a compelling government interest.
It is thus no surprise that at a mediation conducted in the U.S. District Court in D.C. by U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey in late May, CAIR agreed to a settlement. As is often the case, the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement are confidential, but the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, David Yerushalmi, remarked:
“In its complaint, the DOJ asserts that Troy zoning laws allow a nonreligious place of assembly, such as a theater or banquet hall, at the site of the proposed mosque but “zoning restrictions on places of worship” have forced the Muslim group to overcome an additional hurdle not permitted under RLUIPA. The government also alleges that Muslims residing in Troy have faced substantial hardship as a result of not having a place of worship.”
CAIR celebrated the government’s lawsuit, applauding the DOJ’s assertion that Troy officials violated federal law by denying the Islamic center permit. “As of the date of filing its complaint, the city of Troy does not have a mosque or Muslim place of worship, despite boasting about being one of the most diverse cities in the state of Michigan,” a recently issued CAIR statement reads.
In the document a Michigan-based CAIR attorney praises the administration for ensuring that people of all faiths have a place to worship and that cities don’t discriminate against religion via zoning ordinances. “The City of Troy is one of the largest communities in Michigan in both land size and population,” the CAIR lawyer said. “It is appalling to think that they could have seventy-three places of worship for other faiths, but that in this day and age the city is not home to a single mosque.”
The Trump administration has continued enforcing many of the Obama policies protecting and accommodating Muslim rights in the U.S. Specifically, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws, has kept with an Obama practice of punishing American businesses that don’t accommodate Muslims.
Earlier the year the EEOC sued the nation’s largest bus carrier for refusing to let a female driver wear a long, loose-fitting robe symbolic of Islamic piety. The flowing garment, known as an abaya, looks like a frock or cloak and is designed to cover a woman’s entire body in public. It violates the bus company’s uniform policy.
Last year the EEOC got a $90,000 settlement for a Muslim man who was not accommodated by a southern California security company that refused to modify its longtime grooming standards. It constituted religious discrimination, according to the government, because the Muslim employee requested the grooming exemption in accordance with his “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Attorney Robert J. Muise remarked: “CAIR engaged in a massive criminal fraud in which literally hundreds of CAIR clients have been victimized. In the recent court rulings, the federal courts in our nation’s capital have spoken clearly: CAIR was facing a jury trial for all of its fraudulent behavior and even a nominal judgement would have required CAIR to pay all of our clients’ legal fees accumulated over the past decade. Justice might be slow and circuitous, but it finally came knocking at CAIR’s door for its due. CAIR had no realistic choice but to settle. Our clients are satisfied. They obtained a just result.”
Yerushalmi concluded: “Litigating against CAIR and similar American-based Muslim Brotherhood organizations requires patience and the ability to weather long and arduous litigation. CAIR and its minions use every tactic in the book, including illegal and unethical practices, to avoid justice. When we began this litigation 11 years ago, Dr. Daniel Pipes and the Middle East Forum stepped up to the plate to provide foundational financial and strategic support. We are still standing today, and lady justice is smiling as a result of this support.”
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