The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Bernards Township, alleging it violated federal law in its denial of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge's plan to build a mosque.
The proposed site is located in a part of the township that, at the time of the society's zoning request, permitted the construction of places of worship.
"Bernards Township has treated the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge differently than other houses of worship," U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul J. Fishman said. "(Federal law) ensures that municipalities must treat religious land use applications like any other land use application.
"But here, township officials kept moving the goalposts by using ever-changing local requirements to effectively deny this religious community the same access as other faiths."