Friday, May 26, 2017

Suit Challenges Zoning Denial For Mosque

A suit was filed in a New Jersey federal district court yesterday claiming that the Bayonne (NJ) zoning board violated RLUIPA as well as the U.S. and New Jersey constitutions in denying a Muslim religious congregation zoning approval for construction of a mosque. The complaint (full text) in Bayonne Muslims v. City of  Bayonne, (D NJ, filed 5/25/2017) alleges in part:
Plaintiffs applied to the Zoning Board for routine variances, which were needed to convert a decrepit, abandoned, and trash-strewn warehouse on a blighted street into a vibrant community mosque. Plaintiffs then endured years of bigotry and hate crime from those opposed to the mosque. Ultimately, the Zoning Board capitulated to the community’s anti-Muslim animus and denied the application. It did so even though it had previously granted indistinguishable variances to Christian churches. The Zoning Board violated both federal and state law to achieve its desired outcome.
Jersey Journal reports on the lawsuit.