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.

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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.

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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.

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