We noted in our previous post that the U.S. Department of Justice, in its latest report, has stated that one of the biggest trends in religious land use disputes since 2010 has been the drastic increase in disputes involving mosques and Islamic schools. Below are some of the latest religious land use controversies from around the country, and, as you will see, they are dominated by mosque denials.
- Sterling Heights, Michigan is facing a RLUIPA suit over its 2015 denial of a proposal for a 20,5000 square foot mosque submitted by the American Islamic Community Center. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the matter to determine whether religious discrimination played any role in the denial. The Detroit News has more.
- Desert News reports on the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania over the Township’s denial of a proposed mosque. The New York Times has more. We report on the DOJ’s lawsuit here.
- Bizpac Review reports on the latest in the lawsuit involving Bernards Township, New Jersey’s denial of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge’s proposal to construct a mosque. Reportedly, more than 30 members of the community who opposed the proposal during the public comment session of the public hearing have been subpoenaed by the Islamic Society’s lawyers. The former mayor of the Township is a member of the Islamic Society and a named plaintiff. We report on the case here.
- The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Culpeper, Virginia’s County Board of Supervisors discriminated against a Muslim group when denying a request for a pump and haul sewage permit to build a small prayer house. Local coverage is available here.
- A Bedford County, Virginia church is fighting to keep its homeless shelter open, which the County, through its zoning code, has classified as a “hotel.” Local coverage is available here.