TROY, Mich. (WJBK) - They say it's a clear case of discrimination and they are fighting back.
Members of a would-be Islamic center are suing Troy for discrimination saying their plans to build a mosque were repeatedly denied by the city.
"I feel like we have a very strong suit, especially in light of the Department of Justice investigation," said Amy Doukoure.
Doukoure, a lawyer for the Council on American-Islamic relations, or CAIR, will represent the group in court.
They want to turn this $2 million dollar-plus commercial building they bought this summer on Rochester Road into a mosque.
Doukoure says while the religious land use act relaxes zoning requirements for houses of worship. For years, the city has stiffened them.
"We believe that it stems from the 2013 application when a large amount of community members came out against it in what appears to be systematic Islamophobia," she said.
The city of Troy says it "Will defend the lawsuit and it articulated several reasons for its denial of Adam's multiple and significant variance requests for a retrofit of the existing building that abuts residential properties."
"Their entire explanation is sort of a farce," she said.
"What is there right now is a restaurant, it has a liquor license that has parking all the way to the edge of the residential property," Doukoure. "Adam's community center is not asking to change any existing property, any existing property spaces. What they're actually asking is to use the parking the same the way the commercial building is using the parking."
The Adam Community boasts about 1,200 members who live or work in Troy. Doukoure says of the 56 places of worship in the city, there are no mosques.
This legal spat mirrors bout over proposed Islamic Centers in Sterling Heights and Pittsfield Township. In both cases CAIR, with help from the Department of Justice was able to work out an agreement.