Haredi residents in a Queens apartment complex in New York have filed an urgent petition to the court claiming religious discrimination, after the apartment building owners decided to assemble electronic locks at the entrance gates and inside the building – making Shabbat observance problematic.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn, the locks – which only provide entry to tenants through an electronic signal – are just the tip of the iceberg of their struggle.
Lighting systems triggered by motion sensors have also been installed in all the stairwells of twenty buildings in the compound, and additional security measures make Shabbat even more difficult to keep.
Residents who have used the stairs instead of an elevator so far on Shabbat, now find it difficult even to do that – as electronic devices are now installed on every corner which are triggered automatically. Residents have reportedly been stuck inside or outside the building trying to avoid these devices.
According to residents, although they tried to reach an agreement with the owners of the building, the owners did not respond to the proposals submitted to the matter, and therefore they have no choice but to use legal means in order to prevent the continued violation of freedom of religion.