A Buddhist temple in Fremont, California, is suing the city for racial discrimination, denial of religious freedom and invasion of privacy for armed “raids” on the site that allegedly reached the owner’s home and did not spare her. makeup bag.
How the litigation started: City of Fremont officials say that the Temple of the 1001 Buddhas on Mill Creek Road has several structures that do not adhere to building codes and were built without proper permits.
Fremont began investigating the temple in 2017 following a complaint of unauthorized construction, according to city spokesman Geneva Bosques.
After several meetings and two visits by armed police – which included riot gear and a dog unit – the city ordered the temple to demolish three buildings, the Chronicle of San Francisco reported.
In addition to allegedly erecting buildings without inspection, the temple is accused of having an unauthorized treehouse and improper water storage.
The city says the temple is also on steep terrain in a very dangerous fire zone and the area is prone to landslides caused by earthquakes.
In a statement, Bosques said the city was “disheartened” by the costume, adding: “We are a community that celebrates our diversity and we are proud to have one of the largest Asian populations in the Bay Area. “.
What the temple says: Temple founder MiaoLan Lee said the city violated constitutional rights in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Oakland last week.
Instead of building codes and permits, the lawsuit focuses on violations of the civil rights of Lee and his partner.
“I’m sure they chose me because I’m Asian, and I’m a religious woman and my gender,” Lee said. KTVU, adding that she just wants to “have peace”.
The city is accused of “discrimination based on religion, race or national origin, retaliation, unreasonable search or seizure, invasion of privacy, arbitrary discrimination, violation of religious laws on the land use ”and, under the California Constitution,“ denial of the free exercise of religion. “
Lee’s attorney, Angela Alioto, confirmed that her client built or remodeled some structures without first obtaining the required permits. However, she pointed out that Lee paid the filing fee and that she had been put to the test for years, according to ABC7 News.
Alioto also questioned the city’s installation of cameras outside the temple. “They don’t want a Buddhist temple, they don’t want a group of Buddhists, they don’t want Asians. It had nothing to do with permits, it had everything to do with trying to scare them, ”she told The Chronicle.
A separate administrative hearing from the trial is scheduled for next month, KTVU noted.
Featured Image Via KPIX 5 (left) and KTVU (right)
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