Community Update: Settlement reached for Irshad Learning Center

CAIR-Chicago recently resolved a long legal dispute involving the DuPage County Board’s refusal to approve a zoning permit for the Irshad Learning Center (ILC).

On June 18, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer issued an injunction mandating that the County comply with the ILC’s request to operate a religious institution on its private property in unincorporated DuPage, specifying the same conditions sought during the zoning proceedings.

On Tuesday, June 25, the County announced its agreement to a monetary settlement of $445,000 with ILC, foregoing further proceedings in litigation.

Irshad Learning Center applied for a permit to use a former school in unincorporated DuPage County as a mosque and Islamic school. The DuPage County Board denied the permit without explanation in January 2010.

ILC approached CAIR-Chicago for representation in the case.

CAIR-Chicago’s Litigation Director Kevin Vodak represented Irshad Learning Center in its suit against DuPage County. For over three years, Vodak has been working with the ILC to overturn DuPage County’s decision to deny Irshad Learning Center’s application for a permit and compensate the institution for its costs in maintaining the vacant property.

In March of 2013, District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer granted summary judgment in favor of Irshad Learning Center, reversing the County Board’s denial of a permit to ILC and essentially ordering that the Board issue the permit.

On June 11, 2013, the Board elected not to vote on the matter and sought further clarification from teh court. This decision led to Judge Pallmeyer granting a specific injunction which ensures that ILC will be able to operate as a religious institution.

Vodak represented ILC in applying for compensation for the damages incurred to the Irshad Learning Center by the Board’s refusal to issue a permit. The settlement of $445,000, the largest settlement CAIR-Chicago has ever attained for a single client.

With this new settlement, CAIR-Chicago has set the precedent for other Islamic centers to attain permits with less resistance, as was the case for the Islamic Center of Western Suburbs, for which the County Board granted a permit on June 25 after considering the summary judgment decision for ILC.