Friday, September 2, 2011

Feds settle with Lilburn officials over mosque

Once again, the Obama administration has intruded into local politics by taking the side of Muslims over the local community. This is an outrageous misuse of federal power to further the invasion of Islam into America.


Feds settle with Lilburn officials over mosque

GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press
Published 05:45 p.m., Friday, August 26, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement Friday with the Georgia city of Lilburn over claims that it discriminated against a Muslim congregation's request to build a new worship center.

Federal attorneys announced the agreement after filing a complaint in federal court in Atlanta that claimed the Atlanta suburb violated federal law when it blocked the congregation from expanding its place of worship.

"The city of Lilburn twice failed to approve rezoning permits to allow building a mosque, and the complaint alleges that the rejection was because the applicants are Muslims," said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. "We are pleased that the city is settling the lawsuit and that the rezoning issue is being resolved."

Lilburn officials did not return calls seeking comment late Friday. The city said in the settlement it would not impose different building or zoning requirements on the mosque or other religious groups. City officials also agreed to attend training classes on the federal anti-discrimination law and to clarify its complaint process for the zoning of religious buildings.

The legal back-and-forth began with the city's repeated decisions to block Dar-E-Abbas Shia Islamic Center's requests for rezoning. The congregation initially wanted to expand from 1.3 acres to a 7.9 acre tract so a full-time imam could live on a campus that also included a gym, a nursery and more parking, according to the complaint.

But the city rejected the center's rezoning request in November 2009, as well as a scaled-back request in December 2010 that would build a 20,000-square-foot mosque on a 4-acre plot.

The Justice Department got involved in June 2011, and government attorneys and the city have been involved in negotiations since then. Lilburn officials, meanwhile, approved a zoning proposal last week that was similar to the request they rejected in 2010.

"The department acknowledges and commends the city's decision to ultimately approve the rezoning," said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, who oversees the Justice Department's civil rights division. "And it is pleased that the city has agreed to enter into a decree with the United States that helps ensure that freedom of religion in the United States is a reality for persons of all faiths."