This story is likely to surprise you.
If I were to tell you that city officials in a town in New Jersey had agreed to the payment of almost $8 million to Muslims so the latter could build a mosque, would you think this...unlikely? Outrageous? Unprecedented?
If so, you haven't been paying attention.
The payment is being made to settle a lawsuit filed my the Muslims. Of the amount, $2.75 million will be paid so they can buy 15 acres of land on a main highway to build the mosque.
The other $5 million is an award for "damages"--supposedly a violation of their constitutional rights-- and legal fees.
Seems the Muslims originally proposed to build a mosque on a country road, but in 2011 the township's planning board denied the proposal,
citing an ordinance that limited houses of worship to major roads.
Township officials said they didn't object to building a mosque, but only to the proposed
Planning and zoning boards do stuff like this every day.
But last year U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp
ruled against the town--effectively overturning the town's legitimate and previously uncontroversial ordinance.
Purely coincidentally, Shipp was appointed by the Emperor.
Shipp's decision held that after the Muslims applied to build a mosque at the original site, the project
faced “anti-Muslim prejudice within the community, including Internet
postings and e-mail correspondence." Shipp noted that in one instance, someone even claimed the Muslim applicants might even be terrorists.
It's truly hard to imagine what could bring anyone to have such a strange opinion, eh?
Lawyers for the town argued that the purpose of the ordinance was to preserve the residential character of residential neighborhoods, but judge Shipp found the township had "rendered
it nearly impossible for Al Falah and its individual members to adhere
to the tenets of their religion." The judge sent the matter back to the
planning board for further review, which continued until the
settlement was reached.
Oh, there's a bit more to the story, too: First, the town's insurers will pay $5 million of the award. So that means it really doesn't cost anyone anything at all.
Oh, wait, that's bullshit--though obviously a huge relief to the town's officials. A "trust fund" will kick in another $800,000 or so. Which means the town's residents will only be left having to pay just under two million bucks, which will be raised by a bond measure.
Here's the kicker: Town officials said they chose to accept the agreement to avoid using taxpayer money for legal costs.
Uhh...I think someone is unclear on the concept: How does this "town official" think this bond will be retired (i.e. paid off)? Hint: Bond payments come from tax revenue.
Now let's look at the lesson here, shall we? City officials are like pols everywhere: Totally risk-averse. The city attorney brings 'em a settlement that makes the city's cost "just" $2 mill instead of $8 mill. And the risk-averse pols jump at the "great deal."
If you think this won't be repeated thousands of times across this wide nation, you're a liberal. And it won't be limited to suits about a zoning ordinance--Shipp's decision sets a precedent that Muslims who find negative comments in a local paper can cite the same legal theory: The local atmosphere will "render
it nearly impossible for us to adhere
to the tenets of our religion."
And politicians in EVERY sued town will test the prevailing winds, consult their city attorneys and agree that it's far better to pay a couple of million to settle instead of fighting. After all, that way local residents won't have to pay any money for legal costs.
Or something like that.
And all the libs will smile and clap each other on the back for being so wonderfully tolerant.