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Sterling Heights sued - again - over controversial mosque proposal

Joe Gratz

A group of residents is fighting a settlement that would allow construction of a mosque in the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights.

In 2015, Sterling Heights rejected the American Islamic Community Center's proposed plan to build the mosque.

But last month the Sterling Heights City Council accepted the settlement of two lawsuits, one filed by the AICC and the other by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Yesterday a group of Sterling Heights' residents filed a federal lawsuit against the city and its mayor to stop enforcement of the settlement.

The lawsuit claims the settlement violates Sterling Heights' zoning ordinance.

"This has never been about, you know, religion for my clients," said Robert Muise, co-founder of the American Freedom Law Center and attorney for the plaintiffs. "It's always been about the fact that, look, this is going to destroy their neighborhood. And the city caved in."

"This has always been for the people we're representing, who are mostly Chaldeans who live right there on the street," said Muise. "It's been about safety. It's been about traffic."

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor says the lawsuit is frivolous and without merit.

"The City complied with its ordinance and with the Michigan Zoning and Enabling Act, and that will come out during the course of litigation on this, which I don't expect to take very long," said Taylor.

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