St. Anthony sued for rejecting Islamic center
Published 11:39 am Thursday, August 28, 2014
ST. ANTHONY — The U.S. government is suing the city of St. Anthony for alleged religious discrimination for rejecting a proposed Islamic center in 2012, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said Wednesday.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, alleges that the St. Anthony Village City Council treated the group’s application for a conditional use permit at the St. Anthony Business Center on less-than-equal terms as other, non-religious permits to assemble.
“Freedom of religion and the right to assembly peaceably are enshrined for all Americans in the Bill of Rights,” Luger said in a news release. “The people of Abu Huraira have a right to assembly peaceably — they have a right to practice their religion, and it’s our job to enforce that right.”
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The lawsuit contends the Minneapolis suburb violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, and that denying the permit made it difficult for the group’s members to practice their faith. The suit seeks a court order requiring St. Anthony to allow the Abu Huraira Islamic Center to maintain a worship space in the basement of the St. Anthony Business Center.
In a statement Wednesday, the city said there was no discrimination.