Sterling Heights city meeting over mosque lawsuits erupts over statements

Posted at 10:47 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 00:59:11-05

Sterling Heights City Council unanimously approved settlements of two federal lawsuits that were filed after construction of a mosque in the community was denied.

Emotions spilled over in the packed council chambers, prompting Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor to order a recess of the meeting on four separate occasions before the vote was finally taken around 11 p.m.

The fight over the mosque dates back to 2015. The American Islamic Community Center (AICC) proposed building the mosque on property at 15 Mile Road and Mound, in the middle of a residential community.

City Council voted 9-0 against the special land use in September 2015. A month later, the U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation and eventually sued Sterling Heights accusing the city of religious discrimination.
The AICC filed a civil lawsuit in August 2016.

The settlement reached between the city, federal government and the AICC  reduces the city's financial risk and allows for input in the design and construction of the 20,500 square foot building.

The negotiated agreement stipulates that the city of Sterling Heights did not violate any law or the constitution in reaching its original decision to deny construction of the mosque.

The city of Sterling Heights will be responsible for the $350,000 insurance deductible as a part of the lawsuit.