Interfaith rally planned for Sunday outside Courthouse

Staff Reports Posted 11 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Demonstrators were out on Sunday for several hours on Main Street in Albion, holding signs and trying to raise awareness for a court case in State Supreme Court in Orleans County.

ALBION – The Waterport Sufi community is planning an interfaith rally at 2 p.m. on Sunday outside the Orleans County Courthouse to protest a lawsuit that threatens the group’s use of a mosque on Fuller Road in Waterport.

The rally is intended as an interfaith event to support Constitutional rights for religious freedom.

The Sufi community is at risk of losing its place of worship as a result of a private lawsuit now before the New York Supreme Court in Orleans County, said Bilal Huzair, deputy director for the local Sufi Foundation.

The congregation and its local supporters have been picketing the courthouse in Albion for the past week to oppose what it says is an abuse of the legal process.

The local Muslim community has used the mosque on a dirt road in Carlton for 37 years. Many people have been married at the site on Fuller Road over the years. The mosque continues to be used for services and prayers, Huzair said.

He said a former wife of one of the mosque’s ministers has filed a lawsuit, seeking possession of the building. The issue has been argued before James Punch, acting State Supreme Court justice, and his decision is expected soon, Huzair said.

“This is not an individual’s property,” Huzair said on Sunday about the mosque. “We’re being held back from practicing our faith.”

The Sufi community is asking its friends in Western New York, other faith congregations, and all concerned people to stand with them to defend the Constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans.