Howard M. Cooper was interviewed by NECN concerning the ongoing effort by the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester to establish a cemetery in Dudley, Mass., despite continued objections by town officials and residents.
Mr. Cooper, who represents the Society, told NECN that the "treatment of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester's efforts to build a cemetery have run into improper and unlawful discrimination."
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced her office has opened an investigation into whether the town has violated federal civil rights laws.
Town officials have denied the Society's efforts to date.
The zoning board ruled that the Society needs a special permit to build the cemetery on the 55-acre parcel for which the Society previously signed a purchase-and-sale agreement. The Society has filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts Land Court, asserting it does not need a special permit because it is exempt from zoning regulations as a religious nonprofit.
Mr. Cooper's practice includes regularly handling significant civil rights and First Amendment matters. He has been named 2017 Boston Civil Rights Law "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America.