(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI, 2/22/17) -- The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today welcomed a vote by the Sterling Heights City Council to settle a lawsuit and thereby allow the building of a proposed mosque that was previously denied.

The Sterling Heights City Council last night agreed to a settlement to allow the building of the previously blocked mosque with slight modifications as well as to pay a $350,000 deductible to the city's insurance company as part of the undisclosed monetary settlement.

SEE: Sterling Heights accepts lawsuit settlement in mosque controversy (WDIV)

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/sterling-heights-accepts-lawsuit-settlement-in-mosque-controversy

The settlement came as a result of a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) claiming that Sterling Heights violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalize Persons Act (RLUIPA).  

CAIR-MI officials met with the DOJ immediately after the contentious denial of the proposed mosque by Sterling Heights.

"We welcome the settlement reached by Sterling Heights and the DOJ regarding the previously-blocked mosque project," said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.  "We hope that this settlement, along with last year's settlement in Pittsfield Township regarding a previously blocked Islamic school project, sends a strong message to city governments in Michigan seeking to deny zoning of religious institutions simply because they are led by Muslims."

SEE: Islamic School, Pittsfield Township Settle Over Zoning Denial (CBS Detroit)

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2016/09/29/islamic-school-pittsfield-township-settle-lawsuit-over-zoning-denial/

Walid also noted his concern about numerous anti-Muslim comments made last night at the city council meeting and expressed concern over obstruction of the project by private citizens.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, dwalid@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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