US Justice Department settles with Lilburn officials over mosque discrimination

The U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement Friday with the Georgia city of Lilburn over claims that it discriminated against a Muslim congregation’s request to build a new worship center.

Federal attorneys announced the agreement after filing a complaint in federal court in Atlanta that claimed the Atlanta suburb violated federal law when it blocked the congregation from expanding its place of worship.

“The city of Lilburn twice failed to approve rezoning permits to allow building a mosque, and the complaint alleges that the rejection was because the applicants are Muslims,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “We are pleased that the city is settling the lawsuit and that the rezoning issue is being resolved.”

Lilburn officials did not return calls seeking comment late Friday. The city said in the settlement it would not impose different building or zoning requirements on the mosque or other religious groups. City officials also agreed to attend training classes on the federal anti-discrimination law and to clarify its complaint process for the zoning of religious buildings.

Associated Press, 26 August 2011