Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Justice Department Supports Muslim Group In Its RLUIPA Lawsuit

In Wayne, New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief supporting an Albanian Muslim group that is suing under RLUIPA to stop the township from taking for use as open space property on which the group was seeking to build a mosque. The township claims that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act does not apply to takings by eminent domain. The Justice Department argued, however, that the township's deliberate prolonging of the application process for a permit amounted to the kind of discrimination prohibited by RLUIPA. Reporting on developments in the federal lawsuit, the Passaic County Record yesterday said the 11 acres of land at issue has steep slopes and rock outcroppings that, according to township officials, makes it a prime candidate for preservation instead of development. (See prior related posting.)