It’s worth it to the town of St. Anthony to keep property values from taking a dive as a result of another mosque in Somali Muslim-infested Minnesota.
(There’s something rather sinister about the idea of a mosque in a town called St. Anthony, isn’t there?)
Eastside Review News The latest round in the federal civil rights lawsuit filed against St. Anthony Village will be played out Thursday, Dec. 11, when a scheduling and settlement conference takes place in Minneapolis.
It will be the first movement in the lawsuit filed Aug. 27 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleging that the St. Anthony City Council violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, when it denied a conditional use permit in June 2012 that would have allowed worship services at an Islamic center.
Lawyers representing both sides, along with lawyers for the Abu-Huraira Islamic Center, which filed a concurrent civil rights suit against the city, will meet with Magistrate Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes.
St. Anthony City Manager Mark Casey, Mayor Jerry Faust and Council Member Hal Gray will be at the conference, according to court documents, which indicated St. Anthony attorneys have had closed meeting discussions with the whole city council about the religious discrimination lawsuit.
The case is centered on the former Medtronic corporate headquarters building, which is located at 3055 Old Highway 8 in an area of St. Anthony that is zoned for light-industrial use. The Abu Huraira Islamic Center purchased the large office building in 2012 and planned to convert much of the lower level into a Muslim worship and community gathering space.
St. Anthony residents asked the council to deny the proposal, which they argued would reduce tax revenues with a tax-exempt Islamic center there.. Others contended the center would attract increased traffic in the neighborhood and create problems (of increased crime and potential terrorism) for those living nearby.
If a settlement were to result from the conference, it could only be finalized at an open St. Anthony City Council meeting by a council vote. As of last week, Casey said the city had incurred legal costs of $81,675.80 related to the case.
The council’s original 4-1 vote to deny a CUP for the Islamic group to worship in the building was highlighted by anti-Islamic statements made by city residents at meetings leading up to the vote and the perceived preferential treatment given to Christian groups under similar circumstances.
Because the building is zoned for light-industrial use, the city has contended it was only following its own rules when it turned down the permit.
“We were shocked when St. Anthony denied the conditional use permit for the Islamic center in 2012 after getting pressured by Islamophobes,” said Lori Saroya, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the designated terrorist organization CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), which urged the Department of Justice to file a lawsuit.
“We hope for a speedy resolution to the case so that the local Muslim community may have access to the facilities required to meet its needs,” Saroya said in a statement.
VIDEO from June 2012 about the mosque opposition: