Federal court orders Mississippi city to approve construction of mosque
Published 1:09 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022
A federal court has issued a consent decree that makes the way for the construction of a mosque in North Mississippi after officials with the City of Horn Lake were sued in November for violating federal law after denying zoning approval of the religious building.
The terms of the consent decree say the city has agreed to approve plans to permit the construction of the first mosque ever in DeSoto County.
A federal lawsuit was filed on Nov. 3, 2021, on behalf of the mosque and its founders, accused the city of violating the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which provides heightened protections for houses of worship in zoning proceedings, and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Under the consent decree, which was approved Monday, Horn Lake officials must:
- Approve the mosque’s site plan, which was rejected
- Act quickly in the future to address any other permitting and building-related matters
- Defendants will pay Plaintiffs $25,000 for expenses incurred in appealing the denial of the mosque-site application
- Pay for Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the federal lawsuit
- According to the release, the federal district court will have continuing jurisdiction over the action for a period of five years to facilitate the enforcement of the consent decree.