Justice Department sues Virginia county, accusing it of blocking Islamic cemetery

The Justice Division on Friday accused a northern Virginia county of enacting “overly restrictive zoning rules” that blocked a bunch from organising an Islamic cemetery on its belongings.

The government filed a civil lawsuit towards Stafford County alleging that it violated the Non secular Land Use and Institutionalized Individuals Act, the U.S. Lawyer’s Place of business for the Jap District of Virginia mentioned in a observation.

The nonprofit All Muslim Affiliation of The united states deliberate to increase an Islamic cemetery on a 29-acre parcel of land. When the nonprofit purchased the valuables, it complied with all state and native necessities, the U.S. legal professional’s place of job mentioned.

“However after finding out of the Affiliation’s plans, the County amended its ordinance to require that cemeteries be no nearer than 900 toes from non-public wells and likely sorts of streams, thus fighting the Affiliation from the use of its belongings as a cemetery,” the U.S. legal professional’s place of job mentioned.

The Virginia Division of Well being has a 100-foot distancing usual, and the government alleges that the over the top restriction has no respectable well being justification and “imposes a considerable burden at the Affiliation’s non secular workout.”

The ordinance was once followed after neighbors raised issues about neatly contamination, The Related Press reported.

Andrew Spence, a spokesperson for Stafford County, mentioned in an electronic mail Friday night time that the county is reviewing the hot free up by means of the Division of Justice and “has no remark presently.”

The All Muslim Affiliation of The united states has additionally sued the county over the problem.

It filed a go well with towards Stafford County this month and accused it of a discriminatory ordinance designed to stop a Muslim group from construction a cemetery on land zoned for that function, in step with court docket data.

An legal professional indexed as representing the crowd, often referred to as AMAA, didn’t in an instant reply to an emailed request for remark past due Friday.

AMAA is a nonprofit non secular group that gives cheap burials in step with Islamic non secular ideals, in step with the go well with. The go well with says its present cemetery is nearing capability and it wishes further burial house.

The Justice Division is looking for a court docket order permitting the crowd to construct its cemetery in compliance with the ordinance ahead of it was once modified.

“The USA of The united states will have to and can stay a country dedicated to the correct of all other people to observe their religion unfastened from unjustified governmental restrictions,” Assistant Lawyer Common Eric Dreiband of the Justice Division’s civil rights department mentioned in a observation.

Stafford County has a inhabitants of round 145,000 and its seat is round 40 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

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