The U.S. Department of Justice has expressed interest in helping the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan to investigate whether local planning officials in that state are violating the religious rights of Muslims by denying a permit to build a school on property they purchased.
On June 16, the Michigan Islamic Academy (MIA) went before the Pittsfield Township Planning Commission for land usage approval on a newly-purchased property to be used for educational and religious purposes. The planning commission voted to deny MIA's request after concerns of disruption of neighborhood harmony were raised and derogatory comments were made about the religious practice of Muslims.
Dawud Walid, CAIR-MI Executive Director, wrote a statement that included the following in a letter to the DOJ: "In a number of instances across the nation, including the controversial Murfeesboro mosque case in Tennessee, organized anti-Muslim activists raise concerns such as traffic issues and neighborhood harmony with planning commissions and zoning boards to provide legal cover for denial of zoning for mosques and Islamic schools based upon prejudice. Our assessment is that this particular case is similar to such cases."