Christian refugees who fled from persecution in the Middle East at the hands of jihadists are being pressured by former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department holdovers and an Islamic fundamentalist group to allow a mega-mosque in their residential community in southeastern Michigan.
Even though the city of Sterling Heights, with a population of 130,000, is already home to two mosques, the city is under the gun to accept plans for a third, massive one – despite officials’ unanimous decision that it was not a good idea for the community.
“[T]he American Islamic Community Center (AICC) applied for a permit and was rejected after it was determined its proposed use was incompatible with the residential area,” WND reported. “Too much traffic, too little parking, the city planning commission decided by a 9–0 vote against the mosque in September 2015.”
Obama, Islamic fundamentalists fight back
After plans for the massive Islamic structure were declined, Obama used his administration’s influence to assist the AICC in a lawsuit that was partially funded at taxpayers’ expense – arguing that Islamophobia was at the root of the rejection.
“[I]n December, the mosque sued the city and the Obama Justice Department joined in, claiming the real reason the mosque was denied was because the city was caving to anti-Muslim bigotry in the community,” WND’s Leo Hohmann recounted. “Now, a settlement deal is headed to the Sterling Heights City Council on Tuesday evening. If the council votes to sign the deal, it could be very costly for the city.”
Learning from recent history, members of the community are concerned that Muslims will take advantage of the situation as they recently did just down the road, where they made off with nearly $2 million.
“Local residents fear it’s a bad deal, something similar to the Obama DOJ-orchestrated deal forced upon nearby Pittsfield Township, Michigan, last year,” Hohmann informed. “That town had to pay out $1.7 million to local Muslims to whom it had denied a permit for an Islamic school, and township employees were ordered to undergo sensitivity training to assure they never again discriminate against Muslims.”
Different under Trump?
However, with a conservative Republican, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, now presiding as America’s top cop, a repeat of what happened in the Keystone State is less likely to occur, and many in Sterling Heights are hopeful that the importance of the suit is brought to his attention.
Secure Michigan Spokesman Dick Manaserri – whose organization is designed to inform communities on the truths behind Shariah law and how it is incompatible with the laws of the United States – says the case is expected to move forward … and soon.
“If the city council is found to be cooperating with the Obama DOJ staff, who are expediting this consent order to stick it to the Sessions/Trump team, then this city will go nuts,” Manaserri pointed out.
Even though the Michigan city traditionally swings to the Left, it appears as if its residents cried out against the Obama administration’s pro-Islam agenda by supporting the conservative candidate for commander-in-chief months ago at the ballot box.
“In last November’s presidential election, Donald Trump carried Sterling Heights, normally a Democratic Party stronghold, by 56 to 44 percent over Hillary Clinton,” Hohmann noted. “He also carried Macomb County, home to Sterling Heights and also a Democratic-oriented county.”
Yet with all of the holdovers from Obama administration still at work in today’s Justice Department, Sessions could have some trouble trying to save taxpayers from funding the multi-million-dollar mega mosque.
“Why else would Jeff Sessions not dismiss the Obama DOJ lawsuit against Sterling Heights?” Manaserri posed. “We have been told by legal experts that he has the power to simply dismiss the lawsuit. A consent order typically implies wrongdoing with the application of penalties.”
Playing the religion card
Muslims and Leftists did their best to turn the rejected mega mosque plans into a media frenzy by portraying the decision as an anti-Muslim act.
“When the planning commission denied the mosque permit in September 2015, hundreds of Sterling Heights residents gathered outside City Hall to celebrate,” Hohmann recollected. “That celebration was caught on video, and critics cited it as evidence the city was somehow biased against Muslims.”
Living in Sterling Heights since 1965, Tom Mitchell says that “progressives” in control have made his city virtually unrecognizable from what it was like a couple decades ago.
“I feel that with the Left taking over, they are destroying this community,” Mitchell expressed, according to WND. “I don’t want to become another Dearborn or a Hamtramck. And our elected officials are enabling this takeover.”
Parts of Michigan have become Arab transplanting regions, with some areas looking more like the Middle East than America.
“Hamtramck, just a few miles south of Sterling Heights, became the nation’s first city with a Muslim-majority city council in 2016, and a large portion of Dearborn resembles a Middle Eastern country with signs in Arabic and women walking the streets with their faces veiled,” Hohmann explained.
But Mitchell contends the argument that Muslims are being singled out for discrimination is simply not true, as Christian churches have experienced similar rejections of their plans, yet they find other solutions.
“Churches have been denied building projects in the past because their sites were too close to residential housing,” the Wolverine State resident stressed. “They didn’t get the federal government to sue the city; they simply picked another site.”
An appeal for help from Sessions appears to be many residents’ only hope.
“I truly believe this one man, Mr. Sessions, has the power to throw out any consent decree that was engineered by Obama’s Department of Justice – that is our hope,” Mitchell shared. “In fact, I know of hundreds of us who are praying for that opportunity to get it in Jeff Sessions’ hands, before Tuesday night, because once it’s signed, how do you overturn that? Signing it is tantamount to a consent that we’re a bunch of bigots here in Sterling Heights.”
He and other community members took action steps at a recent city council meeting to make sure the mosque does not expunge money from the city, but the local newspaper, the weekly Sterling Heights Sentry, made sure it received minimal exposure.
“We just found out about this, so we’ve been rushing to try to put together an opposition to stop the city from signing this document, which is an admission of guilt to something we don’t think we committed,” Mitchell announced. “As a local resident, I’m gonna say we don’t discriminate in Sterling Heights. We’ve already got two mosques, a Sikh temple, a Buddhist temple and many other diverse houses of worship, so for this city to be called discriminatory is unbelievable.”
“The unfortunate thing is, they want to plop it right in the middle of a Chaldean Christian neighborhood,” Mitchell added. “Somebody planned that. Somebody is seeking to put a stinger in someone’s eye.”
American Middle East Christian Congress President Dr. Ramsay Dass, M.D. said the big issue over the mosque is federal pressure being exerted on small cities to build them.
“As an American citizen, they are entitled to build a mosque, but I do not believe in making laws that small cities and towns cannot fight politically or financially,” Dass shared with WND.
The legalities on the matter are still being debated.
“The federal law being used to coerce cities into approving mosques, even when the mosque is in a residential neighborhood, is the Religion Land Use and Institutional Persons Act, or RELUIPA, which was passed by Congress in 2000,” Hohmann stated. “[T]he Obama administration used this law increasingly against communities denying mosques and less against those denying the construction of churches.”
Dass says cities often cave in to the pressure.
“Any city being hit with this kind of a rule cannot fight back and they submit,” the Christian leader emphasized. “The time is too short, and I don’t think Sessions has the time to discuss it before it is signed by the city. This rule was put in place, and the Obama administration did not apply it to other religions the same as they applied it to mosques. I am not against building a mosque or a synagogue or a church; everyone has a freedom to build a house of worship, but I don’t believe in making it a political issue.”
He insists there are still major challenges ahead.
“RELUIPA, the way it is written, you cannot win, and the cities don’t have enough funds to hire the lawyers to fight this, Dass continued. “It depends on whichever minority has the favored status of the government at any time, you go against that and they’re now going to lose, period. My belief is the federal government should not interfere in the local government unless it is a real black-and-white case of discrimination. I work with the Jews and I work with the Muslims, and that is what my Middle East Christian conscience is all about. We need to work together, protect each other. The fault is with the Christians. We are divided. They are afraid to speak up, so I believe the fault and the shame falls to us.”
Dass then cited Allen H. Vigneron, the Archbishop of Greater Detroit, to explain the problems behind the matter more clearly.
“For the past five years, he has refused to talk to us Middle Eastern Christians living in his archdiocese, but he will go to the mosque and pray with the Muslims there,” Dass asserted. “How do you expect us to move forward? I have pleaded with him to at least meet with us. He knows me very well, but he refused. You want to know why we have a problem in Sterling Heights? That is the problem. I have talked to the Armenians, Syrians, Catholics, I have talked to them all and they cannot develop unity and unless we develop unity we are doomed, in Sterling Heights and everywhere else. We are so badly divided, when the highest Catholic authority will not meet with the Middle East Christians, he is afraid he might offend the Muslims or the Jews. Why else won’t he talk to us, with no agenda? This is our problem. We are a house divided, and the Bible says a house divided cannot stand.”
According to Mitchell, less than 300 Muslims reside in Sterling Heights, so he sees no dire need for a third, 21,000-square-foot mosque.
“Why are they building another mosque way larger than the numbers they have to inhabit it?” Mitchell pondered. “At 21,000 square feet, it could hold at least 250 to 300 worshipers. And just 4.5 miles due north of that location is the mosque that was approved in 2011 and is approximately the same size.”
Hohmann believes the planning is geared for the future to draw more Muslims to Sterling Heights.
“Perhaps there are plans for many more Muslims to take up residence in the city,” Hohmann reasoned. “[A] local Muslim leader, Assad Malik, has been temporarily housing Syrian refugees in a hotel in Sterling Heights. They wait there until permanent housing can be found in or around Macomb County, which, along with Oakland and Wayne counties, has been a primary destination for Syrian refugees.”
He contends that – just like the small but influential numbers behind the LGBT agenda – a few Muslims in high positions are pulling the strings to get mega mosques built to strengthen and build Islamic communities.
“But while the local Muslim population may not be that large yet in Sterling Heights, there are some powerful Muslims living in the community who have influence beyond their numbers, local activists say,” Hohmann concluded. “A local CAIR-connected Muslim leader, Mohammad Alomari, has a seat on the city’s influential Ethnic Committee, which recently handed out an achievement award to a resident who helped the city place hundreds of Syrian refugees in the area.”
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