Trevor Hill owns what was once a blighted, rundown building in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hill has upgraded and repaired the building and built a restaurant there that he’s christened The Hill restaurant. It’s a full service restaurant and that means it is to serve alcohol. And that last fact seems to be causing a conflict with the folks that own the neighboring building: the Anoor mosque.
Apparently one of the mosque board members, Nadeem Sidiqqi, is upset that an American property owner could possibly serve alcohol in his own business. Sidiqqi thinks he should be able to tell the owner of The Hill restaurant that he shouldn’t be allowed to serve alcohol so close to his mosque. He thinks that the city should invent a law that would mandate a “buffer zone” so that his religious tenets can be enforced on his neighbors. Sidiqqi wants to prevent neighboring property owners from doing as they wish with their own property.
So, is this America or Saudi Arabia?
To illegitimize Sidiqqi’s concerns further, the entrance of the mosque is on a different street than that of the restaurant, though the buildings are 191 feet apart. The mosque-goers wouldn’t even be confronted with restaurant customers.
Folks, this is America. If we live in a city that allows alcohol — and not every American city does, to be sure — then there is no reason a property owner should be allowed to stop a neighboring business from serving alcohol over religious reasons.
The mosque’s adherents don’t have to serve alcohol to its fellows on their own property, certainly. But they have no right to interfere with a neighbor’s legal business venture. If the Muslims in the Anoor mosque don’t like their neighbors they have every right to sell their property and move their church to another location that is more to their liking.
We are not living in Saudi Arabia.