After Reluctant Approval for Islamic Cemetery, Farmersville Settles Federal Lawsuit With Promise to Do Better

The city of Farmersville has agreed to train its employees on how to comply with religious land use laws, signifying an end to drawn-out legal troubles that sprung from the city's reluctance to allow an Islamic cemetery in its limits. "There is no place in our community for religious discrimination," U.S. attorney said Joseph D. Brown in a news release announcing a lawsuit that was filed — and settled — Tuesday. "Our office is committed to protecting religious freedom."The agreement was the culmination of a Department of Justice investigation that found Farmersville was in violation of laws protecting the right to buy land for religious use. That finding came on the heels of city officials' decision to bar the Islamic Association of Collin County from building a cemetery in Farmersville.At the time, City Council members voted unanimously against allowing the cemetery plans to proceed. Leaders cited drainage fears relating to the graves, though the Islamic association assured them the cemetery would follow burial regulations. Some residents professed Islamophobic fears about a mosque or Muslim school opening in the area and spreading Islam through the city. After the federal government began investigating the denial in 2017, city officials reconsidered their decision and started negotiating with the Islamic association. In December, the city approved the group's application to build a cemetery on the land.  Continue reading...

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