Target: Mark Mathews, Mayor of Kennesaw, Georgia
Goal: Demand that Kennesaw, Georgia’s Muslims are granted the same rights as Christians
A Georgia town’s city council recently rejected the request of the town’s Muslim community to rent a space in which to hold religious services. This is a clear violation of the First Amendment. Demand that the town reverse its decision and allow Muslims to rent the space to pray in.
The city council of Kennesaw, Georgia recently voted to deny a local Muslim group its request to temporarily rent a space in a strip mall to conduct its religious services before finding a more permanent venue later on. The city council cloaked its denial in the terms of local zoning laws and traffic concerns, saying that they could not allow a designated retail space to be used for religious functions and voicing concerns that the frequent daily prayers of the proposed makeshift mosque would increase traffic to the shopping area and negatively impact its businesses. These claims fall apart, however, when one realizes that the town’s records show that the city council granted a local Christian congregation the ability to rent a retail space for its services as recently as 2013, and that the Muslim community that submitted this request offered to limit the number of parking spots they could use in order to alleviate traffic concerns.
The city council has clearly violated the Constitution, discriminating against a religious minority and denying them equality. Sign the petition below to demand that the leadership in Kennesaw reverse the city council’s decision and grant the Muslim community their protected rights to practice their religion.
Dear Mayor Mathews,
I am writing you today about your city’s recent decision to deny a request by the Muslim community in your area to rent a space in which to practice their religion. The excuses that you have provided are paper-thin, and do little to hide the fact that the decision is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.
While you claim that you cannot grant the Muslim group their space because it will increase traffic to the area and negatively impact local businesses, the Muslim group has repeatedly offered solutions to that hypothetical problem, which you have, in turn, ignored. While you claim that you can’t allow a retail space to be used for a religious function, your city’s records show that you have let Christian congregations use retail spaces for their religious services in the past, directly contradicting your more recent statements. It’s a pity you did not listen to the words of councilwoman Cris Eaton-Welsh when she said, “This is 100 percent, bar none, a First Amendment issue.” The fact that she was the only one on the council to vote in favor of the Muslim community’s request is as disparaging to you and the rest of the city council as it is commending to Eaton-Welsh.
Bearing these things in mind I urge you to reevaluate your city’s decision. There is no excuse for your actions. You must reverse your decision and grant Kennesaw’s Muslim community the rights you have afforded other Kennesaw religious groups in the past: let them rent a space in which to practice their religion.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Pacoperez6 via Wikimedia Commons