STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – It’s the beginning of a new day for local mosque in Sterling Heights.
“It’s an institute of a mosque, educational social, sports center on this piece of land,” said Sam Sobh with the American Islamic Community Center (AICC).
Sobh said this is a huge day. The new center will be a place of faith and outreach.
“It’s essential that we’re close to the community and we have a small center in Madison Heights, so we needed a bigger piece of land,” he said.
But there were some controversy getting to this point. In 2018, seven Sterling Heights residents filed a lawsuit opposing the construction of a mosque in their largely Chaldean Christian neighborhood.
Later, the city of Sterling Heights decided to enter into a consent judgement that granted AICC permission to build the mosque even though doing so violated the city’s zoning ordinance.
But the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division filed a lawsuit against Sterling Heights, Michigan, alleging that the city violated the religious land use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 when it denied approval for AICC to build a mosque in the city.
Sobh said that’s now all behind them.
“We put that in the past because at the very end is that we got our way. These people we forgave them, they’re brothers and sisters to us in faith,” he said.
The mosque said things should be finished within 12 to 16 months.