The Irshad Learning Center is one step closer to having a permanent home off 75th Street in unincorporated Naperville after three years of dispute with DuPage County.
Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled in a 70 page summary judgment that the county must issue the special use permit that the Irshad Learning Center applied for years ago.
Kevin Vodak is the litigation director with the Council on American Islamic Relations or CAIR who argued the case on the center’s behalf.
“There’s a statute called the Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act passed in 2000,” said Vodak. “That basically scrutinizes any government denial of these types of permits and any type of interference in religious activity by a government.”
The cases that have come out of those types of statutes have said a government cannot have arbitrary reasons for denying the permit. Vodak argued that DuPage County only had arbitrary and speculative reasons for denying Irshad’s request for a special use permit.
Naperville News 17 reached out to the State’s Attorney and County Board, but they are not commenting on the ruling pending further legal proceedings.
CAIR is now planning on taking action on behalf of the Irshad Learning Center.
“We have the opportunity to see damages and attorney’s fees for all of the costs involved in litigating the case these past three years,” said Vodak. “In addition Irshad has had to maintain this vacant property that they couldn’t use as a private residence.”
Irshad also didn’t get tax exemption status because the permit was denied, so they’ve had to pay property taxes as well.
Irshad and their attorney hope they can settle the case amicably with the county.
“This case is a firm finding from a federal court that religious freedom is alive and well in this country and we have to respect those rights,” said Vodak.
When the special use permit is issued is in the county’s hands, but Irshad wants to move into their new location as soon as possible.
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