Federal authorities are suing Stafford County in northern Virginia in a response to the country prohibiting the build of an Islamic cemetery.
The All Muslim Association of America (AMAA) was prohibited by Virgina’s Stafford County to build an Islamic cemetery on the 29-acre parcel of land that they purchased, with the clear intentent to biuld a cemetery.
Not the cities first attempt to block the AMAA
In 2016, an almost mirror situation happened when the Stafford County’s added an amendment to their regulations to block the organisation from building the cemetery.
This time the county changed regulations after the group had finalized the land purchase. The changes required cemeteries to be at least 900 feet from private wells and certain streams, after neighbours reportedly expressed their concerns about well contamination.
Federal Authorities step in
Federal authorities are now suing Northern Virginia county stating that Stafford County allegedly violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The lawsuit states that the county’s regulations are far more restrictive than the Virginia Department of Health’s 100-foot distancing standard. In addition, the authorities stated that the ordinance has no legitimate health justification and is burdening American’s right to freely exercise religion.
G.Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “The complaint that was filed in this case demonstrates this office’s commitment to ensuring that those of all faiths are not substantially burdened by improper local government actions in practicing their religious rituals.”