Texas town scru­ti­nized for block­ing Mus­lim ceme­tery plan

Manteca Bulletin - - Nation -

FARMERSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Fed­eral of­fi­cials may sue a Texas town over its de­ci­sion to halt a re­li­gious as­so­ci­a­tion’s plans to build a Mus­lim ceme­tery.

The U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Farmersville vi­o­lated a law des­ig­nated to stop mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties from dis­crim­i­nat­ing against land use de­ci­sions, the Dal­las Morn­ing News re­ported. The U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice “has ap­proved the fil­ing of a law­suit against the city un­der the Re­li­gious Land Use and In­sti­tu­tion­al­ized Per­sons Act,” ac­cord­ing to a city state­ment.

The Farmersville City Coun­cil unan­i­mously voted this week to en­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions to reach a po­ten­tial set­tle­ment that would al­low the ceme­tery to pro­ceed and avoid a law­suit. The city, about 45 miles north of Dal­las, has roughly 3,300 res­i­dents, 75 per­cent of whom are white.

The Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion of Collin County an­nounced in July 2015 that it planned to cre­ate a grave­yard on the land it bought in the city’s ex­trater­ri­to­rial juris­dic­tion.

But the City Coun­cil de­nied the Plano-based or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pre­lim­i­nary pro­posal last sum­mer, de­spite the plan meet­ing all of the city’s cri­te­ria, ac­cord­ing to records. Farmersville of­fi­cials cited con­cerns over drainage is­sues, ac­cord­ing to City Coun­cil meet­ing min­utes from July 2017.

Some res­i­dents re­sponded to the ceme­tery plan with anti-Is­lamic sen­ti­ments and ex­pressed con­cern that it would lead to a mosque or a Mus­lim school be­ing added to the area next.

The as­so­ci­a­tion has said there are no plans to add such fa­cil­i­ties to the area.

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