New York, NY, August 17, 2011 … The Interfaith Coalition on Mosques (ICOM) welcomed a decision by the Lilburn, Georgia city council to allow expansion of a Muslim congregation's worship center in that community. The council had previously refused to approve the zoning request of the Dar-E-Abbas mosque.
The Interfaith Coalition issued the following statement:
It is gratifying that, after a two-year battle, the Lilburn city council has finally approved plans that will allow the Dar-E-Abbas mosque to expand its worship center in Lilburn. The vote conforms with federal law forbidding government bodies from using onerous zoning restrictions to block religious institutions petitioning to build or expand their facilities.
This vote upholds the finest traditions of American democracy, which allow religious worship to flourish without government interference, and we are pleased that the Muslim community of Lilburn will be able to proceed with their plans to expand their facilities to accommodate a growing congregation of worshippers.
In March, ICOM filed an amicus brief in the federal lawsuit challenging the city of Lilburn's initial refusal to grant the zoning request. The brief contended that the rights of the Dar-E-Abbas congregation must be protected according to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA).
In its August 16 vote, the Lilburn city council voted 3-1 to approve the congregation's zoning request.
The Interfaith Coalition on Mosques was formed in 2010 to assist Muslim communities confronting opposition to the legal building, expansion or relocation of their mosques. It is comprised of prominent individuals and organizations from different faith traditions – Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Muslim and Jewish.