Wednesday, August 02, 2017

New Suit Challenges Settlement Agreement In Mosque Construction Dispute

As previously reported, in May a settlement was reached in a suit by the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge which charged RLUIPA violations, as well as violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments, in Bernards Township, New Jersey's refusal to grant site plan approval for construction of a mosque.  As part of the settlement agreement (full text), the parties agreed that a Planning Board hearing on the agreement and related mosque construction will be held, and that, among other things, at the hearing "No commentary regarding Islam or Muslims will be permitted." Now a federal lawsuit has been filed challenging this provision of the settlement agreement.  The complaint (full text) in Quick v. Township of Bernards, (D NJ, fled 7/31/2017) alleges that the commentary ban  suppresses speech based on its content; amounts to a prior restraint; violates the Establishment Clause by favoring Islam; and deprives township residents of procedural due process.  Thomas More Law Center issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.