Friday, March 11, 2016

Suit Seeks Site Plan Approval For Mosque

A suit was filed in New Jersey federal district court by the Islamic Society in a prosperous New Jersey suburb whose attempts to obtain site plan approval for a mosque have been thwarted so far. The complaint (full text) in Islamic Society of Basking Ridge v. Township of Bernards, (D NJ, filed 3/10/2016), summarized the mosque's efforts:
What should have been a simple Board approval for a permitted use devolved into a Kafkaesque process that spanned an unprecedented four years and included 39 public hearings.
 The complaint cites anti-Muslim attitudes among those object to the mosque, and contends that the refusal to approve the sit plan violated RLUIPA, the 1st and 14 Amendments and various New Jersey statutory and constitutional provision.  New York Times reports on the lawsuit. [Thanks to Mel Kaufman for the lead.] 

UPDATE: New Jersey Advance Media reported on March 16 that the Justice Department has opened an investigation into the actions of Bernards Township.