Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mosque Proponents Sue Pennsylvania Township Over Zoning Variance Denial

CAIR-Philadephia announced yesterday that it has filed a federal lawsuit against Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania challenging its refusal to grant a zoning variance to a Muslim congregation, Bensalem Masjid, which seeks to build a mosque on property that it currently leases with an option to purchase. The complaint (full text) in The Bensalem Masjid Inc. v. Bensalem Township, (ED PA, filed 12/8/2014), contends that the Township's zoning ordinances allow houses of worship only in areas zoned Institutional (IN), and that there are no available properties zoned IN that could be used for a mosque. The complaint contends that the Township's zoning ordinances and regulations, and its action refusing a variance, violate RLUIPA, the 1st and 14th Amendments and the state's Religious Freedom Protection Act. Philadelphia Daily News reports on the lawsuit.