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Murfreesboro mosque leader says enough’s enough

Plaintiffs’ attorney Joe Brandon Jr. of Murfreesboro, along with attorney Thomas Smith of Franklin, filed an appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court on Monday, July 29, 2013. / File / Gannett Tennessee

Plaintiffs’ attorney Joe Brandon Jr. of Murfreesboro, along with attorney Thomas Smith of Franklin, filed an appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court on Monday, July 29, 2013. / File / Gannett Tennessee

Even after the government approved of this mosque construction, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is still facing opposition.

Murfreesboro mosque leader says enough’s enough

MURFREESBORO — An Islamic Center of Murfreesboro leader Tuesday questioned why plaintiffs opposed to government approval of mosque construction continue to appeal their case.

“We have already wasted enough energy and money on this issue,” said Saleh Sbenaty, a board member with the ICM and a 20-year professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. “We have been here for over 30 years. This is our home. We are productive members of our community. We have no other place to go.”

Plaintiffs’ attorneys Joe Brandon Jr. of Murfreesboro and Thomas Smith of Franklin filed an appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court on Monday.

The plaintiffs hope the state’s top court will overrule a Tennessee Appeals Court decision in late May that supported the way the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission approved plans for the ICM to construct a mosque on Veals Road, off Bradyville Pike.

The appeals court had overruled a May 2012 decision by Chancellor Robert Corlew III that the county failed to provide adequate public notice before the planning commissioners approved the ICM’s long-term plans to construct a mosque with 52,960 square feet May 24, 2010. The ICM completed the first 12,000 square feet last August and plans eventually to add a gym, indoor pool, classrooms for weekend religious school and other facilities.

Corlew’s decision voided approval of the mosque and prevented the congregation from pursuing an occupancy permit.

Federal court intervenes

A federal court in Nashville intervened at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice and the ICM in July 2012 and determined that the local case violated the congregation’s First Amendment religious freedom and land-use rights. The federal court ruling allowed the congregation to move into its new mosque in August 2012, before the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a time when Muslims are to fast during the day, worship at night, seek forgiveness and treat others well.

The federal court decision upset the plaintiffs.

Brandon said the state’s top court should review whether the public notice was sufficient.

Sbenaty, the ICM board member, questions what Brandon hopes to accomplish.

“He’s doing nothing but chasing ghosts and wasting taxpayers’ money trying to do that,” Sbenaty said during a Tuesday phone interview. “He needs to give it up and find something useful that he can do for the community.”

Brandon disagreed.

“I understand that they want Shariah law (ethical codes of conduct for Muslims) in Rutherford County,” said Brandon, who contends that plaintiffs have a right in civil court to examine if the local Muslims pose a threat even though Corlew ruled that such issues should be up to law enforcement. “What is wrong with wanting to ask questions about direct ties to terrorism? What’s the harm in that? Why do we have to undergo cavity searches at the airports? It’s because of the Mulims.”

The ICM serves about 1,000 members.

Prior to moving into their new center, the congregation members had held worship in a cramped, 2,250-square-foot mosque on the back side of an office building.

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  • El Cid

    The most beautiful of architecture in world history was built by Muslim architects. They even built Synagogues in Spain by Jewish rabbi’s request…most demolished by the Christians later, two remain.
    Alhambra and the Taj Mahal survived, among certain less known others.

  • Not so long ago, people who walked around babbling about these types of delusions about “Islamisation” and “Eurabia” were placed under psychiatric care.

    Yes, you are right. The people are very sick. Nowadays, they get instant media attention, their radio shows, form political parties and get into parliaments, Congress and governments.

    Hopefully, the expansion of healthcare coverage will help pay for mental health care for these very sick people.

  • Nizar Qalb

    This is still going on!?
    It just goes to show you what a bunch of rich rednecks with money to burn and an internet connection to Pamie Geller’s website can accomplish if they put their raisin-size brains to it…

    I really feel for the community, having to financially combat the funding of international Islamophobic “non-profits” out of their own pockets… I hope they are getting outside help too.

  • Those “patriotic Americans” who are opposing the religious freedom of the ICM appear to have arguments that come right out of Dutch Islamophobia – Pim Fortuyn and Geert Wilders – that Islam is a “violent ideology and a backward culture” – and all Muslims, especially faithful ones – are “potential terrorists.” Along with that, Fortuyn especially preached “sharia law takeovers” and removing religious freedom protections for Muslims because “Islam is a political ideology, not a religion.”

    Trust me, we never had this type of Islamophobia here in the US (it comes from the Netherlands) and the vast majority of Americans believe in religious freedom for all.

  • Jon Diamond

    That tie does not go with that outfit.

  • Yausari

    Well it’s not our fault that we have a great taste in art :/

  • Tanveer Khan

    Have mercy! Have mercy! God have mercy! May we all be saved from this terror.

  • Reynardine

    It is even more conducive to the sin of gluttony. You can find yourself walking to the refrigerator in your sleep, only to awaken with a spoon in your mouth. Oh, the horror!

  • Tanveer Khan

    Thank you for taking the time to take pictures for me Reynardine. When you say worse do you actually mean better/tastier? o_0

  • Reynardine

    Tanveer: this is worse. MUCH worse. And I took this picture just for you.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Lemon flavoured ice cream??? :O I need to try some of that.

  • Reynardine

    Guess I’ll have to cross the Pond to find out.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Kinda like vanilla but alot tastier.

  • Reynardine

    I have never heard of this flavor.

  • Tanveer Khan

    We can always count on ice cream.Especially clotted cream ice cream. 😀

  • moraka

    My god what a waste of time and money. All because someone suffers from delusions. They should let people who use the legal system go through a mental check first. Brandon needs medicine and a psychiatric help.

  • Reynardine

    Well, you’ve got a lot on your plate, Tanveer. I won’t keep you up. Sometimes, a little ice cream helps you sleep. No chocolate or coffee flavors, though.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Yes that was what i was thinkign whilst writing the comment. I was thinking of writing “…with an iron fist by using the methods Reynardine mentioned” but my laziness prevented me (its 2:35 am….)
    And yes, i have considered Law. Law, biology, economics. Stuff like that. Still havent decided though. I am still young and impressionable, best not to make hasty decisions. If it interests you I have chosen History, Spanish, Business Studies and Science for my GCSEs starting from September. 😉

  • Reynardine

    The proper iron fist in the state court is a counterclaim for abuse of process, and in the federal court, Rule Eleven sanctions.

    You ever consider legal studies, Tanveer?

  • Tanveer Khan

    Some people are just too lenient. I think these fools should be smashed down with an iron fist from time to time just so that they know their place. 😉

  • Jon Diamond

    I think Brandon is upset because the Muslims got the biggest and best looking building in the entire neighborhood.

  • Reynardine

    There are both sanctions and counterclaims available to the mosque congregants for this kind of vexatious litigation. It’s time to start using them.

  • mindy1

    The mosque is there, it exists, get over it people

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