Source: Associated Press
By DON BABWIN
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago suburb that prevented a Muslim group from converting a vacant building into a mosque will pay the group $580,000 and be required to train city employees on religious land use law, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Tuesday.
In a news release, the department said Des Plaines settled a lawsuit the department brought and another one filed by The Society of American Bosnians and Herzegovinians. The settlements come days after the Justice Department announced that the New Jersey community of Bernards Township had agreed to settle for $3.25 million a similar lawsuit filed by another Islamic group.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental right, and we will not tolerate the unlawful use of zoning or land use restrictions to infringe on that right,” Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney of the Northern District of Illinois, said in a statement.
The settlements stem from a 2013 vote by the Des Plaines’ City Council to deny the group’s rezoning request, and the group sued.