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Court ruling paves way for proposed Troy Islamic center


The city of Troy violated federal law when it denied zoning refusal to a proposed Islamic center, a federal judge has ruled.

The U.S. Justice Department sued Troy over the matter in 2019. It deals with events that occurred in 2018, when Troy denied zoning approval to the Adam Community Center, a proposed Muslim worship space.

The Justice Department argued that Troy’s zoning ordinance placed unique restrictions and extra burdens on proposed religious centers, in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. That same argument was made in separate lawsuits filed by the people behind the Adam Center, as well as the Council of American-Islamic Relations of Michigan.

Federal District Court judge Nancy Edmunds agreed with the government’s position in a recent ruling. She wrote that “RLUIPA was enacted to protect assemblies like Adam from discrimination in zoning laws that ‘lurks behind such vague and universally applicable reasons as traffic, aesthetics, or ‘not consistent with the city’s land use plan,’” and said “Troy had no compelling governmental interest in prohibiting Adam…from operating on the property.

The ruling appears to clear the way for the center to go forward. Troy officials wouldn’t immediately comment on whether they plan to appeal the decision, saying only that the city is “reviewing its legal options.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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