Features

Zoned out

"Zoned out" Continued...

Issue: "After Osama," May 21, 2011

"The RLUIPA is itself ambiguous," said Eisdorfer. "The law was written that way, so Congress was not setting the standard. That's up to the courts to decide." RLUIPA was passed in 2000 with Republican sponsorship and bipartisan support to raise the bar for any government action that would impose zoning or other restrictions on a religious institution or limit the religious freedom of prisoners. Such action must serve a "compelling government interest" while also being "the least restrictive means" of furthering that interest, the law reads. While offering protection to religious institutions and property, RLUIPA now is increasingly being used to litigate in favor of mosque construction sites with questionable funding sources.
-Elbert Chu is a multimedia journalist in New York City and co-founder of RedeemtheCity.com

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