PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the city of Portland violated the rights of Afghan Muslims who want to use a building as a mosque.

The lawsuit filed Thursday says Portland denied the use of the building as a \”church or other place of worship\” under zoning ordinances.

The former TV repair shop property is zoned commercial. The Portland Press Herald reports conditional uses for religious purposes are permitted, but rules require such properties be at least an acre. The site is one-third of that.

The MCLU argued laws protecting religious rights supersede local zoning. Plaintiffs are the Portland Masjid and Islamic Center, the building\’s owner, Sadri Shir, and her husband, Nawad Shir.

City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said officials have met with the plaintiffs and expect to continue talks.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com


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