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Islamic group sues city over use of mosque’s rooms, offices

VINELAND, N.J. (AP) — An Islamic organization has filed a discrimination lawsuit against a New Jersey city, claiming its actions are preventing the full use of a mosque.

The Garden State Islamic Center claims Vineland’s imposition of an expensive, enlarged and unnecessary septic system means the mosque’s second-floor religious education rooms, offices, library and bathrooms can’t be used.

Defendants include the city, three municipal officials and 20 defendants who haven’t been named.

The lawsuit seeks undisclosed damages and an order stating the mosque’s septic system and other land use operations are valid.

The organization also wants the mosque to be declared tax-exempt and for a federal monitor to oversee court orders and the city’s compliance with applicable federal laws.

City attorney Rick Tonetta says he hasn’t read the lawsuit and can’t comment.

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