A Maryland retirement community is under fire… for only selling homes to Muslims.
Developers Faheem Younus and Bill Luther to build River Run, a housing development along the Gunpowder River in Joppatown, Maryland. They marketed and sold 22 homes only to Ahmadiyya Muslims, with the aim of creating a retirement community solely for followers of that Islamic sect.
However, the religious test for buying a home didn’t sit well with one real estate agent. Gina Pimentel filed a complaint in September with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleging that the developers shut her out because they were only marketing and selling to Ahmadiyya Muslims.
As a result of Pimentel’s complaint, Hartford County officials stopped issuing building permits for the development–halting construction before anyone can move in.
Luther then countersued the county, claiming that Hartford County was “motivated by racial and religious animus to keep members of the Islamic faith from purchasing lots and exercising their religious freedoms.”
Maryland State Delegate, Richard Impallaria, who is one of the defendants in Luther’s lawsuit, said that religious discrimination is undoubtedly the issue–but it’s the developers who discriminated, by selling only to Muslims.
“They had a conspiracy,” Impallaria told the Washington Post. “They already carried it out by selling homes to a select religious sect… The leading problem on this project is the housing discrimination. We really don’t need a group of people coming in that’s going to isolate themselves from the rest of the community — come in and do an end run around state, federal, county laws. It’s not a good way to start out as a good neighbor.”
Both Luther’s lawsuit against the county, as well as Pimentel’s complaint to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, are ongoing.