(CHICAGO, 4/8/10) — The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR-Chicago) announced that it has filed a complaint in federal court today against Du Page 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, but no reasons were given for the rejection. Muslim community members believe Islamophobia influenced the decision. Anti-Muslim protests were taking place outside the county board meeting when 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 a full recourse under federal and state law. We will do all we can to ensure the permit passes.”
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 is 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 202-870-0166, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Amina Sharif, 630-935-5562, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com