Islamic Group Sues Wayne Over Mosque Application

July 18, 2006

Source: The Star-Ledger

On July 18, 2006 The Star-Ledger reported, "An Islamic organization in Wayne has sued the township, contending it has discriminated against the group's application to build a mosque on its 11-acre site. In the case filed yesterday in federal court in Newark, the Albanian Associated Fund asked for financial damages and for the court to stop the township's ongoing effort to condemn its land for open space. The lawsuit contends Wayne's planning board has for 3 1/2 years forced the group to take application steps not asked of non-Muslim religious groups. It claims the township has violated state and federal constitutional protections of religious freedom, as well as the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Last night, town Councilman Alan Purcell, reached at home, said the township was not discriminating against the group. He said that in the early 1990s the town denied a different organization permission to build a nursing home on the site, which he called environmentally sensitive. 'It's not because they're Albanian, it's because it's an environmentally sensitive site ... It's not the greatest place to be putting something that big' ... The group of approximately 200 Albanian Muslim families in the area bought the property on Colfax Road near a gas station, office building and preschool in 2001, the lawsuit says, because its existing facility in Paterson was too small for its prayer and educational needs."