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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, three times a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Sep 24, 2018

The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge New Jersey has fought city hall for the last four years. The city rejected 9 applications, held 39 public hearings and buried the Islamic Society in endless paperwork to deny them access to build the mosque. Learn more about how the Department of Justice helped defend religious freedom at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge New Jersey has fought city hall for the last four years.  The society hopes to build a mosque in the Liberty Corner section of Bernards Township, ending the 25-mile one-way drive its members must make each day to attend daily prayers.

The Township has rejected their application 9 times.  The planning board held 39 different public hearings over three and a half years—significantly more hearings on a site plan than any other application to date. Every time the Islamic Society amended their application, the township insisted upon additional requirements. In short, the city buried the society in endless paperwork that no other house of worship had to complete.

In November of 2016, the United States Department of Justice sued the Township on behalf of the Islamic Society.  Less than two months later, they won. 

Those seeking to build a house of worship should never be harassed. It is both unfair and unlawful for a city to require one house of worship to meet certain standards, but allow a different religious body to ignore those same standards.  

This case will probably be appealed and the challenge will continue, but I hope the Islamic Society will continue to be successful. In a land that values freedom, our government should never make the free exercise of religion difficult.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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