Thursday, November 04, 2021

Mississippi City Is Sued Over Refusal To Approve Mosque Site Plan

Suit was filed yesterday in a Mississippi federal district court alleging that the City of Horn Lake denied approval of the site plan for a proposed mosque because of religious animus. The suit alleges violation of various provisions of RLUIPA as well as the 1st Amendment. The complaint (full text) in Abraham House of God and Cemetery, Inc. v. City of Horn Lake, (ND MS, filed 11/3/2021) alleges in part:

Despite the pretextual excuses for their decision, Board members did not work very hard to hide the true reason they denied approval for the project—anti-Muslim prejudice. As then Alderman John E. Jones Jr. told the local newspaper: “I don’t care what they say, their religion says they can lie or do anything to the Jews or gentiles because we’re not Muslims.” In making his motion to reject the mosque’s proposed site plan, Jones ominously warned his fellow Board members, “[I]f you let them build it, they will come. So I think we need to stop it before it gets here.”...

In sum, what should have been an uncomplicated approval of the site plan for the Abraham House of God foundered in a storm of anti-Muslim bias.

ACLU of Mississippi issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.