A town in New Jersey has now forbidden residents from using the words ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’ in court hearings. And they must pay a local Islamic group $3.5 million.

Bernards Township was sued for refusing to approve of a mosque project:

“In a settlement agreement which reads more like a declaration of surrender, Bernards Township, New Jersey officials agreed that in addition to a $3.5 million payment to Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR), residents and citizens of the Township are prohibited from commenting on “Islam” or “Muslims” at the upcoming public hearing to approve the settlement. Astonishingly, a federal judge approved the prohibition as a fully enforceable Order of the Court.”

The Thomas More Law Center then got involved to sue the township for forcing its residents to be ‘politically correct’ and not talk about Islam and Muslims. The limitation to not talk about those things during the planning meeting was overarching and not within reason for the city that is discussing the plans for the new mosque.

“Members of the public have been instructed not to discuss Islam or Muslims during one public meeting prescribed by a legal settlement in which city officials have limited time to consider and approve a project that has a track record of being dragged out for years and also inspiring heated emotions. However there is no over-arching law in Bernards Township “forbidding” citizens from criticizing Islam or its followers outside of that one extremely limited setting.”

The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge sued the township, but chief counsel for Thomas More, Richard Thompson, knows that this is a slippery slope.

“ISBR is setting a dangerous unconstitutional precedent by abusing a court process to chill and trample on the First Amendment rights of private citizens whose only involvement was to speak out against the mosque at public hearings,” Thompson said earlier this year.

But the group who won the case has radical ties:

“Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented: “As we have previously documented, ISBR has taken the extraordinary step of concealing significant links on their website to a radical group named by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA is claimed by the Muslim Brotherhood as one of ‘our organizations.’ According to internal documents seized by the FBI, the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is to engage in a ‘grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within…’”

You can read the federal complaint here (pdf).