Islamic school may sue over zoning change denial

Oct 26, 2011

An Islamic school may sue a Washtenaw County township over a zoning decision. The Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees last night turned down the Michigan Islamic Academy’s request for a zoning change that would have allowed the academy to build a new school in the township, just south of Ann Arbor.   

Lena Masri is an attorney with the Council on American Islamic Relations. She also represents the academy.  Masri said the trustees’ decision is disappointing. 

“I believe this is a blatant infringement of MIA’s constitutional rights," said Masri, "We are looking to other options…which include going to court and requesting the (U.S.) Department of Justice to intervene.”  

Mandy Grewal is the Pittsfield Charter Township supervisor. She denies the school’s religious affiliation affected the trustees’ decision.  

“We are an open, respectful and diverse community here in Pittsfield Township. We have a track record, most recently the planning commission approved a mosque," said Grewal.  

The trustees said they turned down the school’s zoning request because of concerns that the school would add traffic to an already heavily congested road. 

Several people at last night’s meeting encouraged the Islamic school’s leaders to find another location in Pittsfield Township to build their school.