(CHICAGO, 4/8/10) The Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations announced that it has filed a complaint in federal court today against DuPage County, in response to the county’s rejection of a zoning permit for a proposed Islamic School in Naperville.
The complaint names 18 officials from the zoning process who voted against granting a permit to the Irshad Learning Center (ILC), and alleges unlawful reasons for the rejection.
All zoning requirements were met by the ILC. No reasons were given by the County Board for the rejection. Muslim community members fear Islamophobia influenced the decision. Anti-Muslim protests were taking place outside the County Board meeting, and false accusations against the ILC were made by representatives of the anti-Muslim group Act! For America during the meeting where the decision was made.
An online survey by The Naperville Sun showed that 64 out of the 101 people surveyed admit that they would be more welcoming to the center if it were not to be used by Muslims.
“Based on the allegations and complaints, we believe that County board and other zoning officials imposed a higher standard for the ILC as a Muslim religious institution,” said CAIR-Chicago Staff Attorney Kevin Vodak. “The ILC is pursuing full recourse under federal and state law. We will do all we can to ensure the ILC is able to use the property as intended and recovers its losses.”
The suit was filed under the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, the First Amendment to the Constitution – affording the free exercise of religion, speech, and assembly, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. State law bases include the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of 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.
CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil rights group, which has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to promote justice, enhance the understanding of Islam, and empower American Muslims.
CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator, Amina Sharif, E-Mail:email@example.com