Since the Islamic Center of Culpeper was founded in northern Virginia in 2011, worshippers met for daily prayers and holidays at a cramped, ill-equipped house located on the site of a used car dealership.
After a five-year effort to find a permanent site that was economical and large enough to house its congregants, the ICC applied for a sanitation permit to begin construction on a mosque on a stretch of land on Rixeyville Road. But in April, after receiving a flood of complaints from residents, county supervisors voted to block the permit, effectively blocking construction of the building.
According to a lawsuit the U.S. Justice Department filed Monday in federal court in Virginia, that decision represented a discriminatory effort on the part of Culpeper County to keep Muslim worshippers from having a permanent place to gather and to pray.
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