Friday, December 18, 2009

Mosque Sues To Challenge Rezoning Denial

Suburban Atlanta (GA) Dar-e Abbas Islamic center yesterday filed suit to challenge Lilburn, Georgia's denial of its request for rezoning of a tract of land and for a special use permit to build a mosque, gymnasium and related cemetery. The complaint (full text) in A.G.A. Islamic Organization, Inc. v. City of Lilburn, Georgia, (ND GA, filed 12/17/2009), points out that Shia Islam calls for the ability to bury the dead near their mosque and facing northeast, a requirement that is difficult to meet in many existing cemeteries. The lawsuit claims that a 5-acre requirement for houses of worship treats religious assemblies on less than equal terms in violation of RLUIPA and of the First Amendment. It also claims violation of various provisions of the Georgia state constitution. Yesterday's Atlanta Journal Constitution reports on the case.