(CBS) — Two months before a pair of discrimination suits were set to go to trial, the city of Des Plaines has settled out of court with a Muslim group that was denied the zoning for a mosque.
The suits charged that the religious freedoms of the Society of American Bosians and Herzegovinans (SABAH) mosque were violated when the city refused to allow the group to turn a vacant building into a mosque, despite initial unanimous Plan Commission approval.
The settlement is for $580,000. Des Plaines city attorney Peter Friedman said the suburb admitted to nothing and sees the decision to settle as “a business decision.”
The U.S. Justice Department said the city discriminated against the group, finding that it departed from its normal practices to deny the group’s request.
The group no longer needs to locate in Des Plaines. SABAH attorney Tony Peraica, the former Cook County commissioner, said it purchased a former Lutheran Church in Franklin Park a year ago.
He said the once-vacant building SABAH sought to use has since been sold, for $300,000 less than the mosque offered.