MA: BOTH SIDES DROP LEGAL CHALLENGES IN MOSQUE SUIT
Two sides in a legal dispute about the construction of a Boston mosque agreed to drop legal actions against each other, a move that supporters of the mosque say will allow construction to move forward.
The decision comes three months after a Suffolk Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit by Boston resident James Policastro claiming it was unconstitutional for the city of Boston to sell land at a discount price to developers of an Islamic center. The judge ruled Policastro had no standing to bring the suit.
Policastro agreed to drop future appeals after the Islamic Society of Boston agreed to drop a defamation lawsuit against opponents and journalists including the Boston Herald and FOX-TV, which reported on the sale. The defendants in the Islamic Society lawsuit also agreed not to pursue legal fees from the society.
Bilal Kaleem, executive director of the Boston chapter of the Muslim American Society, said the settlement will allow the Islamic Society to finish the mosque, which he said is 70 percent complete. He said the settlement will also help repair relations with other religious groups.
"This was never about obtaining monetary damages, but defending the basic constitutional and civic right of building a place of worship," he said.