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Identity & Community

DOJ: Mosque Can Be Built In Pennsylvania Town After Suit Settled

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A view of the Bensalem Township municipal office. The township was sued by federal officials on the basis of racial discrimination after it denied building permits for a mosque.

Federal officials say their discrimination lawsuit against a Pennsylvania township over construction of a long-delayed mosque has been settled and the project can now move forward.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday that the Bensalem Masjid can build a mosque in Bensalem Township, which had denied it a construction permit in 2014. That led federal authorities to sue the township for religious discrimination.

Township Solicitor Joseph Pizzo says the permit was denied because the group didn't properly present its case to the zoning board, not because of discrimination. He cited high financial costs as a reason for settling.

Officials say the Bensalem Masjid will be allowed to use three adjoining properties to build a mosque. Bensalem also has agreed to amend its zoning rules to comply with federal requirements.