Iranian media is reporting on the start of construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee. According to a Ahlul Bayt News Agency report:
MURFREESBORO,TN (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Despite threats, courtroom allegations and even legislation aimed at their faith, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro still had reason to celebrate in 2011. The congregation launched construction in late September on building the first 12,000 square feet of their new mosque and community center on Veals Road, southeast of Murfreesboro. S&A Constructors of Nashville estimates the work to be done in 10 months. “We welcome everyone,” Imam Ossama Bahloul, the ICM’s religious leader, told supporters gathered at the groundbreaing ceremony in September. “Let us all pray to God. May God help all of us to have peace in our heart toward others.” Getting to the historic moment almost didn’t happen.The congregation had to defend itself in Rutherford County Chancery Court against more than a dozen plaintiffs who challenged the county’s approval of its site plan in 2010 and questioned the real intent, as well as the very religion, behind the new worship center. It took a ruling by Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew III to settle the latter issue. “Those who are adherents to Islam are entitled to pursue their worship in the United States just as are those who are adherents to more universally established faiths (in our community),” Corlew wrote. “We are all very familiar with the legal principle that in the United States, all citizens enjoy the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. “We have a duty equally to treat those whose religious beliefs are similar to the majority beliefs and to those whose beliefs are very different from the majority,” Corlew added in his ruling. “If the zoning laws are too favorable to those seeking to build places of worship, then citizens should prevail upon their elected representatives to change those ordinances, but until they do the Court must apply those laws equally to Protestant Christians, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, and others.” Corlew’s ruling made it clear that the ICM has a right to build a place of worship even if others accuse the congregation of having dangerous intentions. “The allegations presented at the initial hearing include assertions that this structure will be used as a base to undermine our laws and our government, and perhaps even serve as a base for terrorist or military operations,” Corlew wrote in his ruling. “Assuming for purpose of argument momentarily that such is true, were the Court to consider that after construction, the Muslim congregation may begin to use the structure for terrorist activities, for example, as the Plaintiffs assert will occur, then it will be the duty of law enforcement personnel and codes enforcement personnel to halt the activities,” Corlew wrote. “The remedy, then, is that of halting the illegal activity and not resistance to the use of the land.” ICM members explained the new center is needed to service a growing community, which it has served already in Murfreesboro for 29 years. The congregation, which includes about 250 families and about 1,000 members overall, often faces a challenge to squeeze into its existing 2,250-square-foot space on the back side of an office building at 862 Middle Tennessee Blvd. The ICM has long-term plans to construct 52,960 square feet at the Veals Road location, and it would include a classrooms for religious study, an indoor pool and gym.
Read the rest here.
A previous post reported that according to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), , a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, one of its officials met with the board of the controversial Mufreesboro mosque project ” to develop strategies for the community to overcome the challenges they currently face while building their mosque.” Another earlier post discussed the Murfreesboro mosque project noting that the reading list of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM), the sponsoring organization, suggest ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.