Caliph-ornia. The Dept of Islamic Justice is on it as we told you last week and it’s worth repeating this most unlikely scenario that led to a federal investigation:
…when Justice Department officials read a May 2010 Los Angeles Times blog post which reported that members of the Mosque felt discriminated against, they decided to launch their investigation…
LOMITA, Calif. — A land-use decision by the city of Lomita to stop an Islamic center from expanding has become the subject of a federal investigation to determine whether the decision was guided by religious discrimination.
Last week, federal investigators interviewed 13 people who were involved in the March 2010 decision to deny an application for expansion from the Islamic Center of South Bay.
City officials say the unanimous land-use decision was made based on space constraints, not religion.
“It surprises me that the federal government would spend so many resources second-guessing this pretty basic land-use decision,” Lomita City Attorney Christi Hogin told The Los Angeles Times.
But Islamic Center officials say they believe the city has violated laws that prohibit discrimination against religious institutions.
“There was a feeling that they just don’t want us here” at the March meeting, said Iraj Ershaghi, a founding member of the center.
Ershaghi said City Council members bowed to pressure from residents to reject the proposal.
The Islamic Center property was purchased in 1985, and the Muslim community has bought adjacent structures to expand services into nine buildings. The expansion plan would combine the buildings.