Walkersville/Frederick Muslim Center Dispute Not Dead

The owner of the Nicodemus farm at the center of the controversy between the town of Walkersville and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s plans to build a retreat center on the farm has taken the next step. David Moxley has filed a suit in federal court seeking $16.5 million in state law damages and an unspecified amount in federal law damages.

‘‘I believe that I need to protect the rights of both my family and the religious freedoms of the Ahmadiyyas,” Moxley said Monday at a press conference in Washington, D.C. ‘‘When the government usurps the laws and rights of individuals, it is those persons who have the ability to do something, it is their obligation and duty to stand up and correct the matter.”

Here is the problem though, Moxley can assert his rights and thus his family’s rights, but he has no standing in the legal sense to assert the rights of the Muslim Community.

Interestingly, one of the objections to the building of the retreat center is the annual or semi-annual gatherings that will take place at the retreat center if built. Right now, the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Company is having their annual carnival, which attracts a lot of folks to the town. Moxley has hired a helicopter and camera crew, both still and video, to photograph the carnival to see how the town handles crowds of 4,000 or more, which coincidentally, is about the number of people expected to come to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Jalsa Salana event.

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Moxley and his attorneys raised the specter of religious bias, although the Town Zoning Commission rejected the application for special exception because the group failed to provide sufficient evidence to warrant an exception.

Moxley is claiming his civil rights were violated, but having not seen the complaint itself, I am not sure that Moxley’s own civil rights were violated. The town migh have interfered with a contract he had to sell the property, but my guess is that the contract to sell the farm was conditional on the town granting the zoning exception.

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