Terror-linked, named-terror group CAIR should be banned and their leadership jailed or deported – instead, they work hand-in-hand with the corrupt leaders in the DOJ. Litigation and zoning jihad. via Dakota County township sued over rejection of Islamic cemetery – TwinCities.com
Dakota Gardens was supposed to be a cemetery exclusively for Muslims, serving the needs of the local religious community for the next 200 years.
Planned for rural southern Dakota County, the cemetery called for about two burials each week on 70 acres of land in Castle Rock Township — a farming community with a population of 1,500 located southeast of Lakeville and Farmington.
“Everything about it will be simple, quiet and peaceful,” plans submitted to the township read. “(It) will provide the final destination for a minority group in a dominant society.”
Township officials, however, weren’t on board.
In August 2014, the board rejected a land-use application submitted by the original property owner and later denied a request for an appeal of the decision.
Now, more than a year later, local Muslim leaders are urging federal authorities to investigate whether the rejection of the conditional-use permit constitutes religious discrimination.
The state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it plans to ask the U.S. Department of Justice next week to look into whether the land-use denial by the township board constitutes a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
Enacted by Congress in 2000, the act protects religious institutions from unduly burdensome or discriminatory land-use regulations.
“It is truly a sad day when Minnesota Muslims are denied their final resting place simply because of their faith,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN, said in a statement this week.
Castle Rock Township officials declined to comment on the issue this week, citing the ongoing legal action.
The probe request follows a lawsuit filed in July in Dakota County District Court by the Al Maghfirah Cemetery Association — a state nonprofit corporation — against the township and its board of supervisors.
The suit seeks a declaratory judgment, asking a judge to find that the board’s denial was “arbitrary and capricious” and direct the board to issue the conditional-use permit for the site, located at 1120 220th St.
The lawsuit also alleges the board violated the state’s open meeting law.
The township denies the allegations in court documents and has asked the court to dismiss the case; a hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at the Dakota County Courthouse in Hastings.
In making his case against the land-use application, board supervisor Russ Zellmer voiced his concern over the loss of tax base to the township if the cemetery were to be approved, according to minutes from the Aug. 11 meeting.
“Russ also has concerns that this large of a parcel might not be maintained properly, since the application indicates they will only develop a small portion at a time,” the meeting minutes read. “He feels that it is discriminatory that if the facility is approved it would not be open to the public for burials.”
Meanwhile, then-board chairman Drea Doffing said he believed the cemetery would be “incompatible with the current and surrounding uses,” the minutes read.
The property owner later sold the land to the Al Maghfirah Cemetery Association, which then submitted its own application for an Islamic cemetery for the property.
But the township board decided against reviewing the application, contending that an application had already been submitted and denied, according to the lawsuit. The cemetery association appealed that decision and the board also denied that appeal.
According to CAIR-MN, the township board has since changed the zoning ordinance so that cemeteries are no longer a permitted use in the zoning area where the land is located.
“The public hearing during which it appears that the board removed cemeteries as a conditional use lasted only seven minutes,” CAIR-MN wrote in its statement.
Meanwhile, denials of mosque construction applications are on the radar of federal officials both locally and nationally.
In a local case, the U.S. government sued the city of St. Anthony in August 2014 for alleged religious discrimination over its rejection of a proposed Islamic center in 2012.
A settlement agreement reached in December called for the city to allow an Islamic group to use a portion of a building the group owns for worship and other religious activities. The city denied discrimination claims, saying the decision was based solely on land use and zoning restrictions.
Last month, the Rosemount City Council approved the rezoning of property and granted a conditional-use permit for the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, which plans to operate a mosque and community center at the site of the former City Limits Lanes building.
Minnesota already has two cemeteries exclusively for Muslims — one each in Roseville and Burnsville — but they are nearing capacity, said Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN.
“Exclusionary cemeteries are not unique to Muslims,” he said Friday. “There’s a human rights law in Minnesota — a statute — that accepts and supports exclusionary burials.”
When Muslims are excluded they whine and file lawsuits. When Muslims are prevented from excluding others they whine and file lawsuits. Islam is incompatible with liberty, particularly individual liberty.
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