After receiving complaints from the public, the Palm Beach County elections supervisor announced that a Boca Raton mosque will no longer be a polling station in the upcoming general election. A public library will be used instead.
Elections supervisor Susan Bucher, a Democrat, decided to scrap the Boca Raton Islamic Center as a voting location amidst fears expressed by the public that the masjid’s leaders have links to terrorism. She did not offer any public explanation for her decision.
The mosque’s president, however, is convinced they are being discriminated against.
Bassem Alhalabi told ThinkProgress that Bucher told him over the phone last week that she had received more than 50 complaints from angry locals who did not want the mosque as a polling center. Presumably, Islamophobic sentiments are being lobbied against the masjid from Florida’s public, which has demonstrated heightened fears after Muslim Omar Mateen shot and killed nearly 50 people in Orlando in June.
Supporters of the Islamic Center as a voting location have expressed the opinion that religion shouldn’t make any difference for voters. Within Palm Beach County, dozens of other religious worship centers, including churches and synagogues, are being used as polling centers. Wilfredo Ruiz, the public relations director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told ABC, “Casting a ballot in an Islamic center should be no less controversial than doing so in a church or synagogue.”
Alhalabi told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel that the decision was “not democratic.” He said, “If Muslims are good to vote in a church and a synagogue, then Christian and Jews are also good to vote in an Islamic center.”
Photo credit: Facebook, Boca Masjid