(DALLAS, TX, 4/17/19) – The Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-DFW), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a settlement reached by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with the City of Farmersville, TX, for the city’s denial of an application to build a Muslim cemetery.
In July 2017, Farmersville City Council unanimously voted against an application by the Islamic Association of Collin County (IACC) to build a cemetery, citing “drainage” concerns. Subsequent to the City Council’s denial, which came amidst significant local opposition, the DOJ opened an investigation into whether the city had violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA).
Yesterday, the DOJ announced that it had reached a settlement requiring the city to train its officials about their obligations under RLUIPA and to notify the public about the city’s compliance with the law. Last December, Farmersville approved the IACC’s application to build the cemetery as a result of the DOJ’s case.
SEE: After reluctant approval for Islamic cemetery, Farmersville settles federal lawsuit with promise to do better
“We welcome the settlement and thank the DOJ for working to ensure equality for all religious groups,” said CAIR-DFW Interim Executive Director Ekram Haque. “No community should be denied the right to bury their dead on their own land due to religious discrimination.”
In a statement yesterday, US Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division, said, “Federal law protects the rights of all religious communities to buy or rent land for religious purposes including places of worship, religious schools, charitable activities, and cemeteries without discrimination or the imposition of unwarranted burdens.”
Individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination in land use or zoning decisions may contact the Civil Rights Division Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at (800) 896-7743, or through the complaint portal on the Place to Worship Initiative website.
More information about RLUIPA, including questions and answers about the law and other documents, may be found at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/rluipaexplain.php.
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.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-DFW Interim Executive Director Ekram Haque, 469-463-1861, firstname.lastname@example.org