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Tenn. Mosque Can Open, Federal Judge Rules

A victory for people of all faiths (h/t:aliyaplatif):

Tenn. mosque can open, federal judge rules

By Heidi Hall and Bob Smietana

(USA Today)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a recent Rutherford County, Tenn., order that prevented Muslims from occupying the controversial mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., letting local Muslims use the place of worship in time for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell gives the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro the right to complete its inspection process, thus reversing Rutherford County’s June injunction, which contended that county officials did not adequately notify the public about the mosque’s construction.

After the ruling, the mosque’s imam, Ossama Bahloul, said: “We are here to celebrate the freedom of religion and that the concept of liberty is a fact existing in this nation.”

The congregation of 250 families and 1,000 people would like to hold its main worship service Friday on the first day of Ramadan. The congregation now waits for the Rutherford County Codes Department to complete inspections before issuing a certificate of occupancy at the new mosque.

Attorney Luke Goodrich with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the mosque in the suit, called the ruling a victory for people of all faiths.

But opponents objected to what they called a lack of notice about Wednesday’s court actions.

Attorney Joe Brandon, who is representing a group of Rutherford County residents opposed to mosque construction but not involved in Wednesday’s suit, said he’s not surprised that the U.S. attorney got involved.

“You don’t throw a lawsuit like this together overnight,” he said. “So, clearly, it’s something they’ve been planning for some time.”

Brandon said Rutherford County residents were “circumvented.”

“We’ve been involved in this thing from day one, but I’m sure they’d rather have it with no opposition,” Brandon said.

Since mosque construction began in 2010, the building has been at the center of a dispute over whether the public was adequately notified about the site’s construction. However, opponents made clear in court hearings that they also opposed the practice of Islam.

Wednesday’s decision affirms that indeed proper public notice was granted, contrary to the chancery court decision, which submitted that the mosque should be subjected to “heightened legal standard” because of the “tremendous public interest” surrounding the mosque.

Earlier Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was suing Rutherford County, claiming violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.

“Our nation was founded on bedrock principles of religious liberty. The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce civil rights laws that protect religious freedom,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a media release. “When a faith community follows the rules, as the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has done in seeking to construct its place of worship, it is impermissible to change the rules in a discriminatory way that prevents people of faith from exercising their fundamental right to worship.”

The act cited in the government’s suit prohibits religious discrimination in land use and zoning decisions.

Contributing: Scott Broden, The (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) Daily News Journal

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  • Sir David:

    You are correct, but it comes as no surprise to me. 😉

    Sadly, those Islamaphobic websites in where not only the average ignorant citizen attains their misinformation about Islam, but, apparently, elected officials also get that same misinformation!

  • “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32) Warning Contains Irony

    Justin case
    You find apples under an apple trees and on a crazy islamaphobe web site you find crazy islamaphobes . You should not be surprised 😉

    Sir David

  • Sadly, I read a crazed note (posted on Robert Spencer’s Islamaphobic blog) recently written by the deranged Eric Bell to an official at the Murfreesboro mosque. He’s back in Murfreesboro and looking to start continue trouble there. It was the typical lying tirade about how he “supposedly” has no issues with Muslims but “hates Islam“.

    Someone PLEASE inform these clueless Islamaphobes by telling them that Islam is what makes Muslims – – “MUSLIMS”!! How can one hate that which makes a Muslim what they are without hating that person??!! What one likes about that Muslim is that they’re Muslim! They, of course, try to read into it to suit their own vain purposes: “…..well, she/he would be that (positive) way even if she/he wasn’t Muslim…..

  • ALHUMDILLAH!!

    I’ll have to take an extended weekend and visit not only the brothers & sisters of Murfreesboro, but the non-Muslim supporters as well!

  • RDS

    Alhamdulillah.

    Now time for the mosque to open a free tea day on Iftars for anyone who wants to drop by as a show of goodwill and thanks.

  • Zan

    It shows that the law still rule supreme over loonies. Not stopping them complaining about stealth jihad though.

  • Curly

    “A victory for people of all faiths” AMEN !

  • @Emperor

    I’m glad this happened. Hopefully this will be the end of this saga.

  • mindy1

    Yay good for them 😀 What is the arabic equivalent of l’chaim?

  • Nilufer R. Sage

    ALHAMDULILLAH!!!!

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