The Department of Justice announced yesterday that it has filed suit against the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan claiming that the city violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act by denying a Special Approval Land Use application that would have allowed construction of a mosque on five adjoining lots in the city. The complaint (full text) in United States v. City of Sterling Heights, (ED MI, filed 12/15/2016), alleges that this is the only special use application for a house of worship that has been denied by the city since 2006. The mosque became the subject of opposition framed in anti-Muslim terms, and also became a local election issue especially among local Chaldean Christian business owners. Click On Detroit reports on the lawsuit.
This is the second RLUIPA suit filed this week by the Justice Department over denials of land use permits for a mosque. (See prior posting.)