The blacks who suffered under the Jim Crow laws would beg to differ.

(Ann Arbor) — The Michigan Islamic Academy hopes a lawsuit filed in federal district court Wednesday will result in a judge dismissing the decision of the Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees to deny rezoning for a new school.

Lena Masri, attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a partner in the lawsuit, said the court could rule in favor of the school and allow construction to go forward.

MIA would like to build a 360-student school on about 26.7 acres of land at the intersection of Golfside Drive and Ellsworth Road. [...]

Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR, said the arguments that the school will cause neighboring property values to drop and traffic issues to increase are the “same old, tired, bigoted arguments that have been made in the past.” He said CAIR has a compelling interest to stand up against what it sees as a growing trend to block zoning for Islamic institutions.

“This will set a dangerous precedent if the community is allowed to block the construction of this school. … It is neo-Jim Crow in a sense,” Walid said. “We hope and pray to God we are successful in this lawsuit because for us to fall short would set a very bad precedent for this area.”