Boston Judge Allows Suit Over Land Sale for Mosque

November 22, 2005

Source: The Boston Globe

On November 22, 2005 The Boston Globe reported, "A state judge has allowed a lawsuit to proceed that seeks to invalidate the city's sale of Roxbury land at deep discount to a Muslim society that is building a mosque on the property. Mission Hill resident James C. Policastro sued in an attempt to undo the Boston Redevelopment Authority deal with the Islamic Society of Boston, saying the sale violated provisions of the US and Massachusetts constitutions, which prohibit government from establishing or unfairly assisting religious institutions. If Policastro prevails in his lawsuit, it could create a serious problem for the already financially troubled mosque project. Construction has slowed because of the apparent inability of the Islamic Society to raise sufficient funds. According to its documents, the BRA sold land at Roxbury Crossing valued at $401,187 to the Islamic Society in exchange for $175,000 and an agreement from the society that it would provide a series of benefits to the community. The benefits would include lectures on Islam and development of an Islamic law library at Roxbury Community College, adjacent to the mosque site."