Real estate agent Ms. Gina Pimentel filed a complaint last month against River Run development, which since has gotten widespread attention. She claims not being able to get information about the River Run homes in Maryland as she’s not part of the target audience, aka she’s not Muslim.
Ms. Pimentel says River Run development is "unlawfully privately marketing and selling only to Ahmadi Muslims.”
"It's not about religion for me," she says, "My husband's Puerto Rican . . . do you want to live with 106 Puerto Ricans?"
Joppatowne, Maryland, is a community of some 12,000 people just 20 miles northeast of Baltimore. Real estate is in high demand, so Ms Pimentel does not appreciate being pushed out of a popular and potentially lucrative estate development for reasons of ethnicity, something which she claims is illegal in the US.
Developers now admit that the controversial River Run estate came to a halt as Harford County failed to issue all the necessary permits on racial grounds.
The main developer of the project, Mr Faheem Younus (pictured), a 46 year old infectious disease doctor from Pakistan who teamed up with Gemcraft Homes, admits that he is trying to build a retirement community just for Muslims. But according to him, this is not something special: "There are many Jewish, Christian communities - we're not reinventing the wheel here."
Mr. Younus had put out an ad which he’s had to change multiple times since. "This will be a community of 49 spacious brand new homes (Villas) for Ahmadi Muslims with a dedicated mosque within walking distance," read a website at first. That language was later removed and replaced with an update that touted an "audio feed from the adjacent mosque" for the daily call to prayer. Before long that item was also removed from the website.
Maryland State Delegate Mr Richard K. Impallaria (Republican, Baltimore County) held several local meetings over the development and noted the strong objection of the locals for such a plan. He said: “The leading problem on this project is the housing discrimination.”
Both sides are now waiting for an update from the judge handling the complaints made against the development to see how this will proceed.