“Municipalities around the country should pay close attention to what happened in Bernards Township,” said Adeel A. Mangi, lead attorney for a mosque that will be built in the New Jersey town against the wishes of most of its residents.

Bernards Township has settled its long legal battle with the Department of Justice for $3.5 million dollars, approving the construction of a 4,200-square foot mosque and agreeing to force the town’s employees to attend diversity training to increase their sensitivity to Muslims.

The settlement came after years of legal debate that centered not only around residential zoning, but the First Amendment.

As high as the settlement is, Bernards Township got off easy compared to Bridgewater Township, which ended up paying almost $8 million in a similar action.
Michael Turner, a spokesman for the northeastern New Jersey township, said the town’s attempts to block the construction were “based on land use criteria only” and not discrimination.

What continues to concern residents was the overreach by the federal government.

When residents – private citizens dared to object to the construction of the mosque in a residential neighborhood due to traffic and parking concerns, they were subpoenaed by the Department of Justice.

The attorney for one of the residents said, They are being asked overreaching questions,” including inquiries about campaign contributions.

“These people exercised their right to go to a public meeting and raise concerns about something going on in their neighborhood and now they're being treated like criminals.”

The federal court ruled that residents in Bernards Township were not allowed to introduce the topic of Islam or mention Muslims at the zoning hearings.

The exact wording of the federal court order is unambiguous – and the penalty for violating it is equally clear.

“No commentary regarding Islam or Muslims will be permitted.”

Violators will be prohibited from speaking.

If it sounds more like the theocratic authoritarian dictates of Sharia law in Islamic countries, maybe that’s what attorney Mangi was referring to when he said, “Municipalities around the country should pay close attention to what happened in Bernards Township.”

Maybe we should.

Please comment below if you agree that the federal court order prohibiting citizens from criticizing Islam is a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the rights of every American. Such prohibitions belong in countries that follow Sharia law – not the U.S.A.

Source: Conservative Tribune

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