U.S. Attorney Looks into Mosque Denial in St. Anthony Village
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has learned the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota is now looking into a permit denial for an Islamic Center.
Last week, the Village of St. Anthony denied a group of Muslims a conditional use permit to open the Islamic Center and mosque. The city council said the Islamic Center did not meet zoning requirements.
But, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained an email written by U.S. Attorney for Minnesota B. Todd Jones that says he has assigned an attorney to review St. Anthony's decision to make sure it was not an act of discrimination. The Feds are interested in this case because St. Anthony's Planning Commission voted 5-1 to approve the permit. Then, just before the city council's vote, the city changed its zoning ordinance and the council then voted, 4-1, to deny the permit. We are told the Feds want to know why the Council made a last minute change in the zoning ordinance before the vote was taken.
City officials in St. Anthony declined comment because there is possible litigation with this case. The U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed they are looking into the matter but also declined to comment.