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US city to pay $400,000 in settlement allowing mosque to proceed

The New Jersey city of Bayonne in the United States has agreed to a $400,000 settlement with a local Muslim group that will allow a…

The New Jersey city of Bayonne in the United States has agreed to a $400,000 settlement with a local Muslim group that will allow a planned mosque to proceed, ending a lawsuit that accused officials of illegally rejecting the zoning application.

“It is in the best interest of our city that we settle this case,” Mayor Jimmy Davis said in a statement. “That we permit members of our community to have a place to gather and worship is the right thing. That we afford all residents the same opportunities is essential.”

The Bayonne Muslims filed a federal lawsuit last year after their application to establish a permanent home was rejected by the city’s zoning board, claiming the decision violated a U.S. law that prohibits local governments from imposing an undue burden on religious exercise through land use regulations.

The agreement calls for a public hearing within 30 days to approve the mosque.

“We are so grateful for the support of so many of our fellow Bayonne residents through this long struggle and we commend the city of Bayonne for moving now to correct the wrong that was done to Bayonne’s Muslims,” said the president of Bayonne Muslims, Abdul Hamid Butt. (Reuters)

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