Oct 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ drops lawsuit after Muslim cemetery in Virginia approved

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Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department announced on Thursday that it is dismissing a lawsuit against Stafford County, Virginia, after it repealed ordinances that barred a Muslim cemetery from being built.

Driving the news: The announcement marks the end of a year-long religious discrimination lawsuit over a county ordinance that "imposed new requirements, unsupported by any legitimate health or safety concerns" and prevented the All Muslim Association of America (AMAA) from building a cemetery.

  • In October 2020, the county rescinded the ordinance, and in July, it approved the group's plan to develop the cemetery.
  • As part of a private settlement, the county agreed to pay $500,000 in damages to the AMAA.

What they're saying: The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act "protects people of all faiths in their right to exercise their religion," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement.

  • "The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce RLUIPA — through litigation if necessary — against zoning regulations that unreasonably burden religious exercise."
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