Michigan: planning commission accused of Islamophobia

The sale of the former Eagle Elementary School in West Bloomfield Township continues to be a contentious issue following a Tuesday meeting of the West Bloomfield Planning Commission.

Citing “inappropriate questioning” by a West Bloomfield Trustee during the meeting, the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Michigan contacted the Department of Justice on Wednesday.

Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-MI, said the sentiment at the meeting matched the sentiment displayed when the school was initially sold to the Islamic Cultural Association.

“I witnessed the tension in the air and the amount of Islamophobic comments that were made (when the school was sold by Farmington Public Schools in November),” Walid said. “(Tuesday’s) meeting in West Bloomfield basically rehashed a lot of the sentiment I saw in Farmington.”

Walid referenced a specific quote, which he read in a Farmington Patch story about the meeting. Trustee Jim Manna was quoted as saying: “With all due respect, when we look at the world, we’ve got every right to ask these questions. It’s an emotional issue, where the money is coming from.”

ICA members were also questioned about possible terrorism connections and whether their funding was legal, Walid said.

“(The ICA was asked) not just about their religious services, but also if they get money in particular from Saudi Arabia, which they don’t. That’s none of the zoning board’s business about their religious practice and beliefs or even if they get legal money from overseas.”

Oakland Press, 15 August 2012

Update:  See “Were questions inappropriate for developers building mosque at Eagle Elementary?”. Farmington Patch, 16 August 2012

Update 2:  See “Muslims in wealthy Detroit suburb seek a mosque (and friends join them to fight the bigotry)”, Mondoweiss, 17 August 2012