Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mosque Can Proceed With RLUIPA Challenge To Denial of Use Variance

Bensalem Masjid, Inc. v. Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania, (ED PA, Sept. 22, 2015), is a suit by an Islamic religious organization that was denied a use variance to allow it to build a mosque on a split-zoned parcel of property.  Plaintiff alleges that its application was scrutinized much more harshly than those from other groups. Here a Pennsylvania federal district court held that plaintiff can proceed on its substantial burden, non-discrimination, unreasonable limitation and equal terms claims under RLUIPA, its free exercise and equal protection claims, and its state Religious Freedom Protection Act claim.