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Murfreesboro Mosque Celebrates Opening

Imam Ossama Bahloul speaks Sunday during the grand opening ceremony of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Ahmad Abu-Halimah stands beside him. / HELEN COMER/DNJ

Imam Ossama Bahloul speaks Sunday during the grand opening ceremony of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Ahmad Abu-Halimah stands beside him. / HELEN COMER/DNJ

Congratulations Murfreesboro and all of the residents who supported the Islamic Center in the face of the insane anti-Muslim onslaught.

The interfaith gathering also points to the fact that the zealots who opposed the mosque were a radical fringe even within their own communities.

Mosque celebrates opening

MURFREESBORO — More than two years of a rocky path behind it, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro celebrated its opening Sunday with food, fellowship and special guests.

Each guest was greeted and offered a tour of the facility before being ushered to the main assembly hall for a program with several speakers, including Jerry Martin, U.S. attorney for Middle Tennessee, and Thomas Perez, U.S. assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice.

“Today, Sunday, Nov. 18, marks the occasion of the opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro,” said Essam Fathy, ICM chairman. “I don’t know if you can tell how truly proud I am to say that.

“It was a long and bumpy road, a journey like no other. It was rough,” Fathy said.

The mosque remains the focal point of an open meetings lawsuit filed by a group of residents against Rutherford County contending the county failed to provide adequate public notice for the meeting when the ICM’s site plan received approval.

A federal judge’s ruling enabled the mosque to receive its occupancy permit after the U.S. attorney argued that federal law required the county issue the certificate.

Fathy welcomed everyone Sunday and shared his gratitude with those who supported, not just the mosque’s opening and the local Muslim community, but freedom of religion.

Attorney John Green, Father Joseph Breen of the Diocese of Nashville and the Rev. Bryan Brooks of Blackman United Methodist Church also shared remarks.

“I don’t know about you, but I like walking around in my socks,” said Breen, referring to everyone having to remove their shoes before entering the hall.

“If we really believe in that God of love, how can we not love our neighbors? If one does not have the freedom to practice their religion, then before long none of us will,” he continued.

Imam Ossama Bahloul closed out the ceremony with a few words of gratitude to those who supported his congregation and its right to worship.

“The building of the ICM has showed us the importance of believing,” he said. “Yes, we received hundreds of hate (emails), but we received thousands of supportive ones. It reminds us that the majority of people are good.”

— Samantha E. Donaldson, 615-278-5155

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  • Garibaldi

    @Mindy,

    I’m sorry to hear that. You’re saying the comment form doesn’t work? It doesn’t let you submit a comment?

    Is anyone else experiencing this? If you can’t comment, email us: info@loonwatch.com

    Thanks.

  • mindy1

    It does not work on my work computer, so I have to wait until I am home to comment.

  • Garibaldi

    @Mindy,

    What’s wrong with it? Do you find it problematic? Let us know your thoughts and anyone else.

  • mindy1

    First-I am glad they were able to open, I wish them luck :) Second-wtf is with the new commenting forum?? :/

  • Senor

    The people who worked to open this mosque and its supporters are truly representative of what America stands for.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/spunqz?feature=mhee Young & Free

    AH! What happened to the comment section here?

    Anyway, yay for them! Finally, equality won! Go home bigotry, you’re drunk.

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