(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J., 5/30/17) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the settlement of two pending lawsuits that will allow the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR) to move forward with plans to build a mosque.
Late last year, the mosque’s application had been voted down in a decision that was challenged by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and ISBR on the grounds that ISBR was being treated unfairly under the Federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
After 39 public hearings in a process that lasted nearly four years the DOJ determined that there was sufficient evidence to sue for discriminatory practices. The settlement agreement with ISBR requires that the township pay damages of $3.25 million.
SEE: Mosque Will Be Built In Basking Ridge, Town Must Pay $3.25M
Islam in America: New Jersey Township That Discriminated Against Muslims Must Pay $3 Million
“Several New Jersey Muslim communities have been targeted by local anti-Muslim opponents to new mosque construction who attempted to hide their bigoted intentions behind zoning technicalities,” said CAIR-NJ Executive Director James Sues. “In the case of Basking Ridge, these intentions were plain to see once this case went to court. We hope this case sends a message to other communities that freedom of religion is a guaranteed constitutional right, and that the Muslim community is prepared to rigorously defend its rights.”
Other Muslim Communities denied the right to establish houses of worship include the Garden State Islamic Center, and Bayonne Muslims.
SEE: Islamic Group Sues City Over Use of Mosque’s Rooms, Offices
Bayonne Mosque Denied Zoning Approval, Tensions Flare Among Residents
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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