Hendricks County, IN — Today, members of the Hendricks County Commission voted 3-0 to unjustly deny a zoning amendment for the Clermont Village project—which includes a community center with prayer rooms, a K through 12 Muslim school and a college for students whose studies focus on the Quran. The commissioners claimed that their denial was due to concerns about existing drainage problems, insinuating that Clermont Village would make existing drainage problems worse. At a January 12 Clermont Village public hearing, Hendricks County Plan Commissioner President Brad Whicker clearly stated that stormwater was not to be considered at the rezoning stage. This denial also overrules the plan commission’s recommendation that the county move ahead with Clermont Village, a development that has been subjected to a bigoted online campaign rife with claims that the project is “evil,” will bring “sharia law” and will have an “underground bunkers and ammo/weapons room.” Muslim Advocates has been working to support the Clermont Village development. The following quote is from Matt Callahan, senior staff attorney for Muslim Advocates:
“Today’s vote to deny Clermont Village’s rezoning application is inexplicable, other than as an act of bigotry. The county commission rejected the recommendation of its own plan commission to approve this project. Hendricks County is opening itself up to an expensive and unnecessary religious discrimination lawsuit. The commissioners’ supposed concerns about stormwater are not an appropriate ground to deny the application and are worryingly similar to other, equally unfounded claims about water quality commonly deployed to thwart Muslim developments. The evidence shows that Hendricks County is holding this project, which includes prayer rooms and a Muslim seminary, to a different standard than other projects—all against the backdrop of a nasty, anti-Muslim campaign. The county is discriminating against Muslims, showing hostility to freedom of worship and could pay a hefty financial price for it.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.