By Rina Asrina, MINA Contributor in United States
Muslim community and several officials from Troy, Michigan, United States, gathered on Sunday, September 18, for the official opening of the first mosque in that state after nearly five years of struggling to construct a place of worship officially.
Reported by Rina Asrina, a contributor to MINA in the United States, the first mosque in that big city was previously a restaurant with an area of 1,858 square meters.
So far, Troy has 53 places of worship for Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism. However, there is no mosque.
Amy Doukoure, one of the legal teams for the mosque construction said the mosque has obtained the permit as a place of worship and religious gathering.
“We have gotten the occupancy certificate and they can use it as a place of worship and a meeting room. There are bigger plans in the future to utilize it as a major community centre, ” said Doukoure.
Adam Community Center as the institution initiating the mosque construction said so far 4,000 local Muslims needed a place of worship and previously they worshiped in the basement or their houses. Therefore, the mosque construction is considered urgent.
This mosque still has legal issues related to zoning (spatial planning) which was disputed unilaterally by the Troy court. The new building has a permit as a meeting place but it is not granted a permit as a place of worship.
As a result, the court received two lawsuits related to the zoning law considered discriminatory. The first was filed by the US Department of Justice’s 2019 claiming discrimination under the zoning law, and the second was filed by the Adam Community Center.
The department said the zoning law should not discriminate against places of worship which are not much different from meeting places in general and religious restrictions in this way are prohibited.
Meanwhile, the mosque’s lawyers sued the city’s district court with a financial lawsuit of $1.9 million because of zoning law causing financial losses to the mosque in several years.
Troy Mayor Ethan Baker said his party does not prohibit or restrict certain religious movements and currently they are instructing the court to immediately resolve the lawsuit even though legal permits have been issued.
Amy Doukoure emphasized that lawsuits by her organization and the Department of Justice are continuing, because the court has not agreed to compensate for the financial losses incurred by the zoning law due to irregularities in several years.
The local Muslims assume there was discrimination since the beginning of the application taking more than four years for a very trivial and unreasonable matter, causing huge financial loss in its process. (T/ri/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)