Local Authorities Cave to USDOJ, Approve Norwalk, Connecticut Mega-Mosque
Protest Signs at Site of Norwalk, Connecticut Mega Mosque Design of Al-Madany Islamic Center in Norwalk
As night follows day we have the latest example of the Mega-Mosque campaign backed by US Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the US Department of Justice. As noted by Ryan Mauro in a Radical Islam.org article, “DOJ Forces Mega-Mosque on Norwalk, CT Community”, the local protesters alleged traffic and safety issues, as well as an 80 foot minaret dominating the 27,000 square foot Al-Madany Islamic Center complex. This Connecticut Long Island Sound community is located within commuting distance of New York. The Islamic Center has less than 100 family members. The new structure would have capacity for 1,000.
The playbook takes a leaf out of what happened with the Murfreesboro Mosque that we have chronicilled . It is the same modus operandi. Small Islamic center acquires land makes filing to build large complex, locals squawk about size, adjacent traffic and safety issues, Mosque leaders complain to their protectors at the USDOJ civil rights division about Islamophobia and USDOJ steps in threatening suit on grounds of denial of freedom to worship and protections under the arcane Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), see here. With an 80 foot minaret, the local protesters might have inveighed Connecticut and EPA noise pollution standards, assuming they exist, with muezzin calls several times day.. But no matter. As in the instances of Murfreesboro, Temecula California and Brookfield, Wisconsin Mega- Mosques , among a dozen or more Mega-Mosques popping up across America, local planning commissions kowtow to Federal lawyers waiving warnings about violation of First Amendment freedom to worship and the RLUIPA exemptions.
As Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has said: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.” However, the US Department of Justice doesn’t lift a finger to investigate who is funding these US Mega-Mosque projects and why. They are only concerned with protecting Muslim civil liberties and rights to free worship. The RLUPIA exemption do not prevent the exercise of local police powers for diligence investigations.
The current Islamic Center was established in 1999 and serves 100 families. Feeling that more space was needed, the Center purchased the property in 2008 and made the $3.5 million proposal in the spring of 2010. It calls for a facility with an 80 foot minaret to serve as a community center and mosque, including eight classrooms, two libraries, three offices, a kitchen, a gymnasium and other rooms. It has a capacity for 1,000 people.
The proposal was rejected in June. The officials and residents that opposed it never referenced Islam and repeatedly emphasized that religion had nothing to do with it.
Mayor Richard Moccia said, “It was not based on any religious bias.” Commissioner Adam Blank said community centers are not allowed in triple AAA residential zones. Additionally, he said, parking was only allocated for the prayer hall that is 3,000 square feet, leaving the rest without parking.
Isabelle Harqgrove of “the “Keep 127 Fillow Street Residential” was concerned about increased traffic and its potential to “fundamentally alter the character of this quiet, New England neighborhood.” Local resident Brian Dough complained at a public hearing about the already heavy traffic in the morning.
“I don’t want to live near a Wal-Mart or a 27,000 square foot building, and I don’t think anyone in the neighborhood does. There’s no room, and this is huge,” he said.
Israel Herskowitz of the Stonegate Condominium Association that opposes the project said, “The reason why it was rejected is it’s too big a development for too small a property … That would be the same if it was a church, or it was a synagogue.”
The Center rebutted by presenting a traffic study that projected that only 100 people and 50 cars would arrive for Friday prayer services. It also offered to help reduce traffic on special holidays by holding two services and hiring a police officer to direct traffic. The zoning commission chairman was skeptical of the traffic study because it didn’t include the rear building. The Center claims that it will not use both buildings at the same time.
When the zoning commission ruled against the Center, the Center responded with a lawsuit, accusing it of anti-Muslim bias. Even one supporter of the Center’s proposal, Rabbi Jon Fish of Congregation Beth El, felt it was a dirty tactic.
“We all have problems with parking and space. It’s clear that the people who are concerned for their neighborhood are also good Americans, who also care a great deal about the diversity of our community. No one should be cast as a bigot,” he said.
Nonetheless, the “Islamophobia” accusation got the Justice Department to start an investigation. On November 29, the zoning commission had a private meeting and approved the proposal “subject to an agreement depending on the terms of a final settlement.”
Herskowitz decried the “backroom politics” that left him and other residents out of the process. “We don’t know what’s in this proposed settlement. It’s frustrating,” he said. His group has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out.
Assistant US Attorney General Perez had indicated as far back at October 2010 to the leaders of the controversial Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM) that he had their back in any legal matter concerning the expanded Islamic Center that finally opened in September 2012. This, after being temporarily blocked by a State Chancery Court ruling in June 2012 delaying receipt of a Certificate of Occupancy. But again the Federal lawyers prevailed and the long battle against the ICM was over.
A recent Iconoclast post , we called attention to, a confrontation between Assistant Attorney General Perez and US Rep.Trent Franks of Arizona during which Perez refused to recognize the conflict between Blasphemy codes and another First Amendment guarantee of freedom to criticize a religion. A Daily Caller article cited in the Iconoclast post noted this crucial portion of the exchange:
“Will you tell us… that this administration’s Department of Justice will never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion?” Frank asked four times.
Perez refused to answer, saying “it is a hard question, in the sense that when you make threats against someone.” Perez then suggested he would respond to draft legislation from the committee, but again refused to answer Frank’s question about free speech rights.
RadicalIslam.org author Mauro zeroed in the lme Islamophobia issue:
All the Center had to do was claim discrimination for the Justice Department to intimidate local officials on its behalf. If a church didn’t get what it wanted from a zoning commission and accused it of “Christ phobia,” would the Justice Department have intervened?
Few words are as powerful as “Islamophobia.” It preys upon the emotions of Americans disgusted by genuine acts of anti-Muslim bigotry. It tempts the politicians concerned about their public image. For Islamists uncomfortable with legitimate questions, it moves the conversation to victimization. And, as we now know, it compels the Justice Department to help get your mosque approved.