The Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and a civil rights law firm have filed a joint complaint against the city of Lomita for denying the Islamic Center of South Bay’s application to rebuild and renovate its mosque.
The federal complaint, filed Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, contends that the city is discriminating against the mosque and that there is no evidence to back up neighbors’ concerns of increased traffic.
”This is a last resort for the center under federal law,” said attorney Anne Richardson. “We are seeking injunctive relief and we’re asking the city to reverse its denial of the application and allow the mosque to move forward with its plans.”
In March 2010, the Lomita City Council rejected a plan for a new consolidated worship center, citing neighbors’ concerns and increased traffic. The 4-0 vote occurred despite a study from city staff that concluded that traffic would remain the same.
“When you read the staff report, the recommended approval by the technical arm of the city, they found that this renovation project would improve the flow of traffic and parking,” said Reem Salahi, an attorney with the civil rights law firm of Hadsell Stormer Kenny Richardson & Renick, which filed the complaint.
See also “California mosque sues city over expansion denial”,Associated Press, 21 March 2012