US Department of Justice Takes Action Against New York Village Targeting Orthodox Jews

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York sent a letter Monday notifying the Village of Airmont in Rockland County, NY, that they plan to file suit against the village on the grounds that are violating terms of the Federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA).

RLUIPA, as the law is commonly referred to, was created in part to ensure that municipalities did not create zoning or landmarking laws that would discriminate against religious institutions or “unreasonably” limit religious structures or assembly within in a jurisdiction.

The US Attorney’s Office said in its letter that the Village’s zoning code “substantially burdens, discriminates against and unreasonably limits the practice of religion by the Village’s Orthodox Jewish community.”

In a statement, Agudath Israel of America said it is “grateful that the [US] Justice Department is prepared to take all steps necessary to fight religious discrimination and ensure religious liberty.”

The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Committee also praised the move. In a statement, the OJPCA said that “the Village of Airmont was created three decades ago essentially to abuse government power against Orthodox Jews. Time and again, the DOJ stepped in to stop it, and here we are again because the essence of the village has not changed.”

Read More: Algemeiner