WASHINGTON: (APP) The US Department of Justice has filed a suit against Culpeper County in Virginia for refusing to grant permission to build a mosque for Muslim worshippers , a Washington Post report said on Tuesday.
The Justice Department asked the Federal Court to order the mostly rural country to grant permission to the Islamic center to build the mosque in the county which is about 75 miles away from the capital Washington. According to residents, the nearest mosque for the Muslims living in the area is about 45 minutes drive away.
The news is a pleasant breathe of air for the Muslims.
The request to build the mosque faced votes against it apparently due to a "narrow technical question regarding the disposal of sewage". The Just Department, however, investigated the issue with an eye if such an issue involved religious discrimination.
According to the report the Islamic Center which sought permission to build the mosque was told by the county health department that conditions at the proposed site required sewage removal by what is known as the pump-and-haul method.
In pump-and-haul, sewage is stored on site and trucked away periodically for treatment, a process that required a permit, according to the lawsuit.
The Just Department's civil rights division took the plea that rejecting the request for the permit made building the mosque impossible and, therefore, it was impossible for the members of the Islamic center to engage in their religious practices.
"The department said no other suitable land was available for the mosque. It argued that the board made use of the pump-and-haul permit process as a means to bar a use that the board 'did not want'," the report said quoting the Justice Department.
However, the County Administrator was of the view that the study would show that the county was 'completely compliant', and that the County Board acted within their policy.