A New Jersey township that was sued by Muslims for refusing to approve a massive mosque project is returning to court because of a settlement agreement that restricts speech regarding Islam.
The settlement required the township to hold a public meeting about the mosque project, but it forbade anyone from commenting on “Islam” or “Muslims.”
A key tenet of Shariah, the Muslim law that governs both personal and political life, bans any negative comments about Islam or Muslims.
According to the Thomas More Law Center, which sued the township on behalf of two residents whose home is within 200 feet of the proposed mega-mosque, the settlement with Bernards Township “reads more like an instrument of surrender.”
The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge sued and won a decision in federal court after its mosque proposal was rejected based on traffic and other concerns.
The Township agreed on a $3.5 million payment and a “public hearing to approve the settlement.”Residents Christopher and Loretta Quick challenged the agreement in court, arguing it restricts speech and violates the Establishment Clause by preferring Islam over other religions.
“The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area,” Thomas More explained. “Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship which will impact design of the building, traffic density, water and sewage, traffic control problems, road construction, and parking arrangements. According to the settlement agreement, ISBR is permitted to make statements concerning Christians and Jews and their places of worship, but in contrast, the agreement prohibits commentary relating to Islam or Muslims. In fact, ISBR has previously discussed the Christian and Jewish religions and their places of worship.”
Richard Thompson, chief counsel for Thomas More, said the Islamic center “has taken the extraordinary step of concealing significant links on their website to a radical group named by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in America history, the Islamic Society of North America (‘ISNA’).”