Monday, April 12, 2010
RLUIPA Suit Challenges Denial of Rezoning For Islamic Learning Center
The Council on American-Islamic relations last week announced that it had filed a RLUIPA lawsuit in federal court in Chicago challenging DuPage County's rejection of a zoning permit for the Irshad Learning Center that would serve some 30 Shia Muslim families primarily of Middle Eastern origin. No reasons were given by the County Board for rejecting the Naperville location, and Muslim community members fear the decision was influenced by anti-Islamic attitudes. The Chicago Tribune reports that the county's Development Committee had approved the project, but the Zoning Committee voted against it. Anti-Muslim demonstrations took place outside the County Board meeting. Before the vote, opponents claimed the Center had financial ties to a foundation suspected of aiding Iran's nuclear weapons program. Proponents believe the county imposed higher standards on the school than it would have done for a non-Muslim institution.