Muslim community says mosque in Waterport threatened by lawsuit

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Protestors are out at Courthouse Square today trying to raise awareness of an impending court action that could make a mosque in Waterport no longer available to the World Sufi Foundation.

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, said Bilal Huzair, deputy director for the World Sufi Foundation.

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,” he said about the mosque. “We’re being held back from practicing our faith.”

About 50 protestors began walking along Main Street by the courthouse at about 10 a.m. They plan to be there until 4 p.m. today.

“We want to make sure our freedom of the Constitution is upheld,” Huzair said. “Our focus is on preserving our rights.”

Huzair said some of the protestors weren’t part of the World Sufi Foundation, but were supportive of the group’s effort to raise awareness of the case.

“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen to another church,” Huzair said.

Huzair said the lawsuit should worry all of those concerned about faith and liberty. He said the lawsuit contends the site on Fuller Road and also a community-run medical office are not religious properties and should be seized to settle a private lawsuit that does not directly involve the community.

“This is an abuse of the legal process,” Huzair said. “The court should have dismissed this outrageous claim immediately. Instead they have left us hanging for months not knowing if our place of worship would be sold out from under us.”