I would like to give you an update on where we are in reference to the Ansar community along the Harford County-Baltimore County border, along the Gunpowder River. This project was sold as a planned Muslim community with a mosque.
Problem #1: There are already homeowners in the development who did not buy into that type of community and who are not members of that religious sect.
Problem #2: The development is on public roads. To me and to Delegate Pat McDonough, it is clearly a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, because it was marketed only to Muslims.
We asked many questions of the local government and councilperson and got no satisfactory answers.
We began holding town hall meetings which most local government and elected officials would not attend.
Members of the community organization fighting this made a federal Fair Housing complaint, which is now in the hands of the feds and is under investigation. This effort is supported by Del. McDonough and me.
The developer then filed a federal lawsuit charging Harford County, Delegate McDonough, and me with discriminating against Muslims by stopping their permits. As state elected officials, Delegate McDonough and I have no power to hold or block county permits. We only have the power to hold community meetings and attempt to get answers to the community’s questions.
The County has now filed a countersuit in federal court against the developer for slander, which Del. McDonough and I are not parties to. We are represented by the Maryland Office of the Attorney General in the federal lawsuit.
So, with all this suing, threats and intimidation, I have not backed down, nor has the community backed down, from seeking answers.
This development is under a Circuit Court Consent Decree. We believe that permits have been issued for a community center/mosque in violation of that Consent Decree. Any changes to the original plan must go back before the Circuit Court.
For this reason certain community members and I have filed a Writ of Mandamus against the Harford County Permit Department and the Harford County Attorney, asking the judge to order all permits for the community center/mosque be rescinded and that any further changes must come back before the court (i.e., the County must abide by the Consent Decree), or in the alternative, to rescind the Consent Decree and put the project back to the 26 homes originally approved for the site, rather than the 50-some homes approved under the Consent Decree.
As your elected official I will continue to stand up for my community — all communities — regardless of threats and intimidation.
If you would like to review the Consent Decree, the reference is to the Circuit Court for Harford County, Civil Appeal Case No.: 12-C-03-634 AA. The Writ of Mandamus is in the Circuit Court for Harford County, Case No.: 12-C-17-3127.
You can also download a copy of the Writ of here (writ_of_mandamus).
Delegate, District 7