N.J. Township Bans Using Terms “Islam” or “Muslim” in Public Hearing

In the latest and most outrageous assault on freedom of speech in the United States, a Federal judge has approved a New Jersey township’s prohibition on citizens using the terms “Islam” and “Muslims” in a public hearing on a recent settlement agreement.

The agreement relates to a dispute between Bernards Township and the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR) over the township’s denial of approval for construction of a large mosque on a parcel of land deemed too small to support the structure.

The ISBR sued the township for discrimination in March 2016.   The suit was joined in November 2016 by the U.S. Department of Justice. As a result, the township decided to settle both lawsuits for $3.5 million.

Local citizens concerned about the speech ban enlisted the aid of a nonprofit legal foundation to contest the prohibition as a violation of the First Amendment.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey Federal District Court on behalf of township residents Christopher and Loretta Quick.

Alleging suppression of speech, TMLC argues the settlement agreement creates a prior restraint of speech based on content and violates the Establishment Clause by favoring Islam over other religions.

The lawsuit asks the court to: declare that the settlement agreement is unconstitutional; and to enter a preliminary and permanent injunction against its enforcement.”

TMLC is representing the Quicks free of charge. They became a party to the suit because their property would have been most affected had the mosque construction been approved. The settlement agreement allows the project to move forward.

The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area.  Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship which will impact design of the building, traffic density, water and sewage, traffic control problems, road construction, and parking arrangements.”

Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel, noted ISBR has concealed important links on its website to a radical group named by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in America history, the Islamic Society of North America (“ISNA”).  TMLC has termed the settlement agreement an “instrument of surrender.”

While claiming that the Township had a religious animus against Muslims, ISBR hid from the public view its animus toward Christians and Jews, by not only hiding anti-Christian and anti-Semitic verses published on its website, but also hiding its significant ties to ISNA.”

Instead of standing up to defend its citizens against ISBR’s hate-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bias, the Township colluded with ISBR’s “Civilization Jihad” by capitulating to payment of millions of dollars to ISBR, allowing the construction the new mosque and Islamic center in violation of zoning codes, and now even suppressing speech concerning Islam or Muslims at a public meeting.”

The Thomas More Law Center describes its mission this way: defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.

Source: Thomas More Law Center