- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) - A religious organization has filed a civil suit against a Detroit-area community nearly a year after a proposal for a 20,500-square-foot mosque was denied.

The American Islamic Community Center says in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Detroit that the city of Sterling Heights is in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the U.S. Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause.

Sterling Heights planning commissioners voted last September against a special land agreement for the mosque in a residential neighborhood.

Some area residents protested the plan, citing traffic congestion and lowered property value concerns. Supporters of the mosque said the issue was anti-Muslim bias.

A Sterling Heights spokeswoman says officials will not comment on the suit until the city reviews the allegations and consults with lawyers.

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