Alleged Sheepshead Bay Racists Lose Mosque Legal Battle – Gothamist – May 11, 2011

Alleged Sheepshead Bay Racists Lose Mosque Legal Battle – Gothamist – May 11, 2011

From The Gothamist, May 11, 2011

By John Del Signore

Opponents of an under-construction mosque in Sheepshead Bay lost a preliminary legal battle yesterday when a Kings County Supreme Court judge refused to grant a preliminary injunction stopping construction at the site. You’ll recall that some local residents fear the mosque would create traffic congestion in the neighborhood, and they’ve vowed to stop the project in court. But after yesterday’s decision, the opposition group, Bay People, accused the defense attorney of labeling them racist. In a press release, they rant:

[Judge] Portnow denied a preliminary injunction without giving a reason for his decision. He ruled from the bench within minutes, which appears that his ruling was pre-determined. Deek, the defense attorney, had only one argument, the “race card” and called Bay People and Sheepshead Bay residents racists and terrorists and added that there are hundreds and hundreds Muslim families living in Sheepshead Bay and that they will all walk to the mosque and not drive.Our next steps would be to appeal this decision immediately. Moreover we are commencing an action against the New York City Department of Buildings for failing to adequately consider our zoning challenge via unreasonable delays and erroneously granting a building permit in the face of numerous violations on lies on the application.

As this video of an angry Sheepshead Bay protest from March showed, these people really hate this mosque. (Someone recently used the fence to remind the mosque that Osama bin Laden was dead.)And they have Councilman Lew Fidler in their corner; Sheepshead Bites reports that Fidler has written a letter to the DOB demanding they “follow the letter of the law and provide access to the publicly available materials.” Bay People argued yesterday that “construction cannot take place and cause irreparable harm to the neighboring properties and the community at large.” They also claim structural drawings have not been made available, and for several months now the Department of Buildings office workers have told them it was because the copy machine was broken.

“It was a win for justice,” says Ibrahim Anse, a member of the committee overseeing the construction. “Freedom and peace. God bless the USA.”

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