BALTIMORE — A Maryland county executive and other county officials have filed a defamation lawsuit against a developer, accusing him of falsely suggesting that anti-Muslim bias is fueling their opposition to his project.

Court records show Harford County Executive Barry Glassman and three other county officials filed the suit this week in federal court in Maryland against the developer, William R. Luther Jr.

Luther’s company, Gemcraft Homes, had already filed a civil rights suit against the county, alleging that religious discrimination is causing the county to block the project of 48 townhouses.

Earlier this year, the developer reached an agreement to sell the vast majority of the lots to a group that plans to use the housing as a village for elderly members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect.