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Praying for Relief: Current Perspectives on Establishing Mosques and Other Houses of Worship in the Face of Land Use and Zoning Restrictions

June 27, 2013
Arnold & Porter LLP
399 Park Avenue
New York, NY
10022
In recent years, Muslim communities around the country have faced particular challenges and opposition to their efforts to establish places to pray. Local examples include the Park 51 mosque in New York City and the Al Falah Center in Bridgewater, New Jersey. While some communities have faced only vocal opposition, others have faced legal barriers imposed by local governments that deny necessary permits or amend their land use and zoning regulations in an effort to prevent the establishment of mosques in their communities.

Such measures can violate the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which was enacted to protect churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other religious institutions and assemblies from discrimination and undue interference with religious exercise through application of zoning and land use laws, thereby solidifying the basic constitutional protections for religious freedom and against religious discrimination provided under the Free Exercise Clause, the Free Speech Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

Come join our panel for an engaging discussion of how communities seeking relief from the courts under RLUIPA raise critical questions on the meaning of religious freedom today, the protection of minority religions, and the role of the courts in that dialogue.

Moderator:
Ally Hack, Esq., The Association of Muslim American Lawyers

Speakers:
Bruce R. Kelly, Arnold & Porter LLP, counsel to the Al Falah Center
Lawrence H. Fogelman, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
Patricia L. Gatling, Commissioner and Chair, NYC Commission on Human Rights

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