BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) — The Department of Justice lawsuit against Bensalem Township over the construction of a mosque is moving forward after a federal judge refused to toss the case.
In a 12 page opinion, District Judge Michael M. Baylson ruled that the DOJ alleged enough to take the case one step closer to trial.READ MORE: Student Shoots Himself In Leg Inside West Philadelphia School With Metal Detectors, Police Say
“The township is certainly disappointed, said solicitor Joseph Pizzo, “but the denial of the motion to dismiss is not totally unexpected.”
Pizzo says the township will vigorously defend the case. The feds allege that the township denied the Bensalem Masjid’s application for a zoning use variance back in 2014.
The Muslim group had been using a fire hall for their religious worship services, but it did not meet their religious needs so they decided to build a mosque.READ MORE: Man Shot, Killed Inside West Philadelphia Corner Store, Police Say
The DOJ alleges the township treated the group’s zoning application differently because they are Muslim.
“The township did not, will not and has not discriminated against any religious group,” Pizzo said.
He says the parties will meet with the judge for a settlement conference and then move forward with discovery.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia High School Works To Return Native American Remains
The Department of Justice declined to comment.