BOCA RATON, Fla. – American representatives and Muslim leaders have raised concerns over the decision to remove a polling station from the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, citing Islamophobic threats and complaints.
“People of religion need to understand that we all have a common enemy — those who do violent acts in the name of religion,” said Omar Saleh, a CAIR-Florida attorney.
“As much as I hate to say it, by removing the polling place you let the terrorists win. They want to instill fear and this is one way to do it.”
County voters have been assigned to polling stations in about 80 Christian churches and five synagogues or Jewish centers this year, along with schools, government buildings and other locations.
Till last week, they had only one mosque after Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher removed a polling station from the Islamic Center of Boca Raton in response to complaints, some of which she described as vulgar and threatening.
The decision was criticized by Boca Raton’s two US representatives who supported the use of a mosque as a polling place in the Aug. 30 election.
“The right to religious freedom and the right to vote are both fundamental to our democracy,” Lois Frankel, of West Palm Beach, in whose district the mosque lies, said late Tuesday in a statement cited by Palm Beach Post.
“All polling places should be safe, without discrimination against any religion.”
Deutch said, “If we are going to use places of worship as polling places, we should not discriminate. When Donald Trump advocates a religious ban on Muslims, there is a dangerous impact on communities throughout this country.”
Meanwhile, CAIR-Florida issued a statement last July 11 saying it is sending a written request for the supervisor to promptly reinstate the Islamic Center of Boca Raton as a polling station and will consider every legal avenue to prevent “this openly discriminatory decision affecting the federally protected rights of the Palm Beach County voters.”
CAIR-Florida Civil Rights Counsel, Omar Saleh, is also filing a public records request asking for all communications and records from Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections officials regarding the Islamic Center’s polling station removal.