AG cautions town against vote on proposed Muslim cemetery

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DUDLEY, Mass. (AP) — The Massachusetts attorney general's office is cautioning town officials against holding a town-wide vote on a proposal for a Muslim cemetery on abandoned farmland.

Genevieve Nadeau, the civil rights chief for Attorney General Maura Healey, says that under state law, a community — in this case, the town of Dudley — can't "prohibit, regulate, or restrict the use of land or structures for religious purposes."

The warning comes months after Jay Talerman, a lawyer for the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, said the Dudley Board of Selectmen turned down the group's proposal to use 55 acres of farmland for the cemetery.

The board held a closed-door meeting Friday to discuss the Dec. 1 letter.

Talerman tells The Boston Globe an agreement hasn't been reached but the "selectmen are moving in the right direction."

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