Via Star Tribune:
The U.S. Department of Justice plans to sue the city of St. Anthony for rejecting a proposed Islamic center in 2012.
Federal authorities recently sent the city notice of their intent to sue, and U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger is expected to announce the civil rights lawsuit alleging religious discrimination at a news conference at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
The St. Anthony City Council met with its attorney behind closed doors on Aug. 18 to discuss the threat of litigation. Mayor Jerry Faust said the city turned over documentation on the matter to federal authorities more than a year ago.
“They’ve taken a lot of records of ours. I am sure that’s what it’s about,” Faust said. “We have to give them all of our e-mails.”
The U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis has spent two years investigating the matter, with its spokeswoman saying at one point they had sought to reach an out-of-court agreement with the parties.
In June 2012, the St. Anthony City Council voted down the proposed Abu Huraira Islamic Center, concluding that a religious and cultural center was incompatible with the site’s light-industrial zoning. The council’s 4-1 decision went against a city planning commission recommendation to approve the 15,000-square-foot center in the old Medtronic headquarters at 3055 Old Highway 8. [...]
The Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked federal authorities to investigate whether the city violated the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000(RLUIPA).