By Laura Fawaz, TMO
Hamtramck, MI–On Thursday, February 2nd, the Hamtramck Zoning Board approved two zoning locations for the extension of the Islamic Center of Hamtramck (Masjid Ali ibn Abi Talib), as well as for the establishment of the Ideal Islamic Center.
Though this win came after an appeal and a big push by a representative of CAIR-MI who spoke on behalf of the Islamic centers at the hearing, discussing federal law denying zoning of religious institutions.
What needs to be examined here is that even with the large Muslim population of Hamtramck, the city still denied the zoning for both mosques to begin with. It took an appeal and CAIR-MI to step in to be approved. To add to this, out of the six Hamtramck City Council Members, three of them, half, are Muslims, and yet the permission was denied?
From this, many asked, â€œare we missing something here?â€ This question seemed to be raised by most Muslim Americans living in Metro-Detroit. When digging a bit deeper, something more then most would have concluded was found.
â€œWe never really had a full board,â€ says one member of the Hamtramck City Council who chooses to remain anonymous; and according to whom, â€œif the Mayor cannot use her power, she uses the council, by bringing in those who will vote with her. Since three people make a tie, the mayorâ€™s vote will make four, becoming the majority.â€
This city council member concluded their interview by urging all citizens, no matter their race or religion, to go out and vote for every election, and alluded to the point that if all registered voters in Hamtramck voted when it was for the city council members, then there would have been more diversity on board, and this zoning appeal would never have needed to happen.