PITTSFIELD TWP. (WWJ/AP) – An Islamic school has settled a federal lawsuit against a Michigan township that denied zoning for a new school building.
The Michigan Islamic Academy will get $1.7 million and can build a school and housing on the land in Pittsfield Township, near Ann Arbor. Township officials approved the settlement Wednesday.READ MORE: Michigan Reports 5,616 New COVID-19 Cases, 68 Deaths
The academy sued after the township, in 2011, rejected its request to build.
“I think it would set a dangerous precedent if a community is allowed to block construction of a school and an activity center based upon religion,” said Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, at that time.
Pittsfield Supervisor Mandy Grewal says Thursday that the township denies any wrongdoing and that traffic and congestion were original concerns.READ MORE: Detroit Police Seek Assistance Locating Suspect Wanted For Critical Assault
The township has said repeatedly that the decision wasn’t based on religion.
Township officials also settled a Justice Department suit that said it violated the Religious Institutions Land Use Protection Act — a law that prohibits imposing land use regulations that put a substantial burden on religious exercise.
The academy says its current Ann Arbor location is insufficient to meet its religious and secular needs.MORE NEWS: FBI Asks Public's Help After Explosives Found In N. Michigan
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