Litigation and zoning jihads – planned well in advance.
A New York Islamic center is suing the City of Yonkers for landmarking a 108-year-old house owned by the group in an alleged bid to stop it from turning the mansion into a mosque.
The Islamic Community Center for Mid Westchester, which filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York’s Southern District, accuses the City of Yonkers of religious discrimination and constitutional violations when the city in June landmarked a house the center bought last year.
The lawsuit said the designation, applied for by the Colonial Heights Association of Taxpayers, was a “pretext to discriminate against plaintiffs because of their religion, their religious practices, and against their religious institution.”
Exterior changes to landmarked buildings must go through an approval process.
“The landmark designation severely restricts the nature and type of renovations [the center] can undertake on its property,” the lawsuit reads. “The landmark designation denies [the center] the right to have a house of worship bearing all relevant Islamic characteristics.”
Following a public hearing, the Landmark Preservation Board in April found that the Islamic center’s house “was illustrative of growth and development of the city and had unique architectural qualities,” a finding the Islamic center disputes, court papers said. The Yonkers City Council later voted along party lines for landmark designation, with Republicans for it and Democrats against it, and the mayor signed the resolution on May 27, according to court documents.
Defendants named in the lawsuit also include the Landmark Preservation Board, the city’s planning board, the mayor, four Republican city councilmembers, and a Republican district county legislator.
The Islamic Community Center for Mid Westchester is asking the court to block the City of Yonkers from enforcing the landmark designation, and to award attorneys’ fees as well as compensatory damages no less than $25 million.
City of Yonkers spokeswoman Christina Gilmartin told NBC News in an email that the Islamic Community Center for Mid Westchester can open a mosque and the city is ready to help.
“But welcoming this congregation does not mean that the independent findings of our Historic Landmarks Board can be completely disregarded,” she said. “Hundreds of other building owners, and in some cases entire neighborhoods, manage to comply with historic preservation requirements. So must they.”
Will Gilmartin and the City of Yonkers stand strong or bow down to Islamic supremacists and give them money, land and more to further the jihad?