ACLU to Represent Mayfield, KY Muslims

In Mayfield, Ky a local group of Muslims was recently denied a zoning permit for them to use a spot in a strip mall as a mosque.  Originally the zoning board approved the permit but after public outcry, the decision was revoked.  Another meeting was arranged so the public could comment on record,however when a representative from the Muslim community arrived to make the Muslim community’s case , he was turned away at the door because the room was full of all other locals, many if not all of them opposed to the plan. The permit was denied due to “inadequate parking”, the allocated space for the rented section of the strip mall only had 6 spaces. You can read more about the decision via the local NPR station.

Thankfully the ACLU has taken up the case:

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Kentucky have agreed to represent Khadar Ahmed, a resident of Mayfield, Kentucky, who was denied a permit last month by the Mayfield Board of Zoning Adjustment to operate a Muslim worship center in the town’s central business district.

Michael Aldridge, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kentucky [said,] “The fact that Mr. Ahmed was initially granted a permit and then had it taken away without there being any change in circumstances is troubling.”

“Preventing any group from freely practicing their faith is unlawful and contrary to core American values,” said Daniel Mach, Director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “While we remain open to alternative avenues of resolution, governmental actions that have the effect of denying individuals the right to practice their religion must be challenged.”

Hopefully the local Mayfield Government will realize that they made a huge mistake and will do the right thing before they cost themselves and the citizens of Mayfield lots of money in a legal battle.

Questions for you…

I have to work with several of our customers who we supply software for. Some of the institutions we supply are overtly religious, and offer “Christ Centered Teachings” from a “Christian World View”.  Many times when working with these customers I must endure them making overtly religious statements to myself, as well as listening to their phone system’s messages that tell all about how Christian they are. Most of the time I’ll simply brush off their annoying messages about living with God, and Blessing me over the holiday’s and such.  Sometimes I get the feeling, that since I don’t return these sentiments, I am fed even more the next time I must deal with them.  They don’t know I’m an atheist but I’m starting to think if they did I might end up getting even more of these “well wishes”.

How do you deal with customers who proselytize to you while at work?

Does your work place have a secular work policy, as in no religion while at work?

A few interesting things…

I figured I’d post a few links to some sites/blogs/podcasts I frequent

  • Friendly Atheist – Hemant Mehta’s site, features an advice column from an atheist as well as general atheism/secular news.
  • Pharyngula – PZ Myers’s Blog featuring topics confronting evolution denial to general secular news to polls and more.  A great site if you’ve only got time to read one blog out there.
  • The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe – a weekly podcast covering lots of topics from the skeptical point of view.  They also do interviews with lots of skeptics/freethinkers and bring up good news, with a focus on medicine,biology, and emerging technology.
  • NPR’s Science Friday – A great show that is all about scientific discoveries and debates that are ongoing in science, as well as Science’s role in the government and politics.
  • Bad Astronomy – Phil Plait’s blog about Skepticism, Astronomy news and general “sciency” stuff.

I also tend to use the SkepDad’s link site for lots of good blogs and podcasts and such.