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Michigan family slams order to remove small Virgin Mary statue as ‘an attack on our religion’

A Michigan family have blasted an order from their homeowners association to remove a small Virgin Mary Statue that has been in their front yard since 2003 as ‘an attack on our religion’. 


The Samona family, who say they stop to pray in front of the figure twice daily at their home in Novi, received a letter last week saying it is in violation of neighborhood policies.

But Joseph Samona, who lives at the home with his parents, has labelled the decision discrimination and said he will fight the decision ‘tooth and nail’. 

He told The Detroit Free Press: ‘There is no doubt in my mind that this is an attack on our religion. We have already received an outpouring of support from friends and family, and we are prepared to fight this tooth and nail.’ 

Joseph said his parents immigrated from Iraq to the U.S. to escape religious persecution. 

He added: ‘We’re just looking to let people know that no matter what your faith is — whether it’s Catholicism, Islam, Judaism — don’t let anyone tell you that you have to back down from that.’

The family are no strangers to disputes with the association after they were also told to remove their lawn nativity scene in 2003. 

They won that battle after hiring lawyers. 

The first request to remove this particular statue came in 2009, they say. Since then they have heard nothing more.  

But the Tollgate Homeowners Association’s ‘Declaration of Easements, Covenants and Restrictions’ states ‘no lawn statues, ornaments or outdoor art shall be placed on any lot without prior approval’ which may be withheld for ‘purely aesthetic reasons’. 

Attorney Mark Linton said: ‘It would only be illegal if the homeowners association was arbitrary in its enforcement of the rule. They have the right to prohibit homeowners from putting up these items in their yards.’ has contacted Tollgate Homeowners Association for comment.  

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