STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Just a few weeks ago, a settlement over a controversial mosque brought out raw and intense emotion.
Sterling Heights residents are upset about a settlement that allows the heavily opposed mosque to be built, so they're launching a legal fight against the city and the mayor to keep that from happening.
The City Council meetings have been packed and tempers and protests have escalated over the last several months.
The Sterling Heights planning commission originally turned down a proposal to built a mosque on 15 Mile Road, but a lawsuit by the American Islamic Community Center and the Justice Department brought the city into a consent agreement, which means the mosque will be built.
The American Freedom Law Center is saying, "Not so fast."
"I think what ended up happening was the Department of Justice, Barbara McQuade, who is no longer there, the 800-pound gorilla joined in on this fight and the city caved in because they didn't want to deal with the government," Robert Muise, of the AFLC, said.
Muise is suing the city, saying the city's zoning ordinances are being violated and arguing other legal maneuvers on behalf of seven Sterling Heights residents.
Muise also claims Mayor Michael Taylor violated the open meetings act for throwing out disruptive people and those who were savaging Muslims as terrorists during the meeting.
"I don't think the city did anything wrong at that City Council meeting," Taylor said. "I don't think I did anything wrong. We're going to respond to this. We're going to defend against it pretty vigorously and we're going to go after them for sanctions for this very frivolous lawsuit."