ACLU takes mosque's side in NJ town lawsuit

BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A coalition of civil rights group has filed a court brief supporting a group suing a New Jersey town it says created bogus barriers before rejecting their bid to build a mosque.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Muslim Advocates and other groups say that Bernards Township is threatening one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge filed the complaint in March. Its application was denied in December after four years and 39 public hearings.

Its lawsuit alleges a delayed and drawn-out process during which town residents made references to terrorism and questioned what children would learn in the mosque.

Bernards Township wants the lawsuit dismissed. It says public hearings were motivated by issues including storm water management, lighting and fire safety.