Target: Mark Mathews, Kennesaw Mayor
Goal: Allow Muslim residents to rent a space for worship
A Muslim neighborhood group in the city of Kennesaw, Georgia has asked the city to temporarily rent it a space for conducting worship. The city turned down the request without providing any convincing explanations. Many Muslims in the U.S. are currently facing Islamophobia in their communities, and this limitation on this group’s right to assemble and worship freely follows the same pattern of fear and hate of Muslims. Ask the mayor to grant this Muslim group the same rights every religious group deserves, and rent it a worship space.
In November, the Muslim group asked the city council to rent it a storefront in a strip mall because its worshipers currently had to travel long distances for religious services. The council debated for two weeks, and then denied the request four to one without providing any explanation. Later the mayor said that their concerns included increased traffic and interference with local businesses, although the Muslim group offered concessions to address these potential problems.
Right before the vote, individuals protested outside the city council building holding Islamophobic signs with slogans such as ‘Ban Islam.’ Those protesters and others have celebrated the decision to not allow the Muslim group to rent the space. The city cannot give in to this type of hate speech, and must protect everyone’s right to worship safely and freely. Please demand that the city counsel reverse its decision immediately.
Dear Mr. Mathews,
I am writing to you regarding the Kennesaw city council’s decision to not allow a local Muslim group to rent a space for worship. This decision has an Islamophobic undertone, which is emphasized by the anti-Muslim protest before the vote. I ask that you immediately change the decision and allow this Muslim neighborhood group to exercise its right to assemble and worship freely by allowing it to rent the space it needs.
The group has offered concessions to address the parking and traffic concerns brought up by city council, and the city has rented store fronts to Christian groups in the past. There is no other reasonable justification to deny this group access to a space that would make it easier for Muslim residents to assemble and worship as they please.
I ask that you do not give in to anti-Muslim voices and instead protect the First Amendment rights of all individuals in your community to practice religion freely.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: RHaworth via Wikimedia Commons