Crowd erupted in applause after vote of 9-0 rejecting the proposal.

BY JULIA KASSEM, Staff Columnist

Crowd erupted in applause after vote of 9-0 rejecting the proposal.
Crowd erupted in applause after vote of 9-0 rejecting the proposal.

An aura of contentiousness and vitriol circumvented Sterling Heights’ city building on Friday, Sept. 11. The unanimous 9-0 vote against the mosque, undertaken by Sterling Heights’ Planning Commission, became a breeding ground for hatred that not only followed the vote, but surrounded the anti-mosque protests weeks prior.

Following the vote, Muslim attendees were greeted with jeers as they walked out of the building. Supporters of building the mosque demanded their constitutional rights and freedom of religion. However, chants of “God bless America” and “no more mosques” sought to deter them and ensure a “blessed America.”

“What’s being discussed, obviously, with the protests is this hate towards people of Muslim faith,” Rashida Tlaib told television station WXYZ, channel 7, on Sept. 2 in response to Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor’s opposition to the mosque over euphemistic “zoning issues”.

Taylor’s early scores of Facebook posts emphasizing solidarity with the Chaldean community in light of plans to build the mosque were in response to initial protests from residents of 15 Mile against the mosque’s construction.

Complaints levied by local residents in the two city government meetings in late August to the planning commission’s rejection of the mosque made evident that even the allegedly logistical decision mirrors the cheers and Islamophobic epithets outside closed doors.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) director Fatina Abdrabboh concurred that even zoning decisions based on “objective land use criteria,” as Taylor asserted, are otherwise rooted in prejudices. “The historically vulgar discriminatory practices prevalent in the 20th Century rallied around beliefs that African Americans threatened property values,” Abdrabboh wrote in response to zoning concerns over traffic and property values. “Thinly veiling opposition by expressing ‘economic’ concerns for property values, taxes and traffic is not a new practice.”

The mosque, intended to service an increasingly diverse residential community alongside many neighboring Iraqi markets and shops, was ultimately met with constituents adverse to community building. Motivated by prejudice and fear, demands to exile a community center ultimately threaten a community more than any parking lot can ever hope to.  
 

  • Sean

    The community does not want a large view-blocking mosque dominating a residential neighborhood. The mosque is too large and will bring traffic and noise to a quiet area designed for single-family homes. Any idiot could understand why the community does not want a mosque there.

    Since Muslims can always play the race/Islamophobia card, they are doing it in this case. It is easy and lazy and it tars the entire Sterling Heights community as bigots. What is far worse is the disgusting bias and bigotry that has been targeted at the Chaldean community by this mosque and their supporters. Ugh. As if the complete ethnic cleansing of the Chaldeans from Iraq is not enough, Muslims come to this country and treat them like second-class citizens here. Why doesn’t anyone in the press stand up for the Chaldeans and speak out about the virulent religious and ethnic bigotry they are enduring?

  • Nibras Manna

    The residents of the area didn’t want it there. End of story. The proposed Mosque violates zoning rules for the area. No need to be treated differently because it’s a Mosque!

  • Jason Miller

    It’s not a good site. This section of 15 mile road is already a traffic nightmare, there are several empty lots on Mound Road that are one mile away that would be a much better spot.

  • Martin Fisher

    Since when did the Michigan Journal become a training ground for college students aspiring to become journalists? Your readers deserve better than this.

  • pea_brain_2012

    Perhaps Ms Kaseem should write for Al Jazerra and get the acolades it deserves.

  • Kevin Evans

    Why is this even a story in the Michigan Journal?

    • Ghadeer Alaradi

      Because this is the Opinions section, and students can express their views and take a stand for or against current events or issues they feel passionate about. Freedom of speech.

      • Kevin Evans

        As a former Editor-In-Chief, I am fully aware of both Freedom of Speech and the Opinion section. I am also fully aware of the location of Sterling Heights as it relates to UM-D. It’s a bad decision to run that opinion piece as it relates to a ridiculously small percentage of students who would find it remotely interesting. But then again, given YOUR personal bias, I see how the decision was made.

  • Pingback: Addressing discrimination against Saudi women - RiyadhVision()