Mosque hearing focuses on site approval - WKRN News 2

Mosque hearing focuses on site approval

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The religious facility will be built on Veals Roads, southeast of downtown Murfreesboro, and replace the current Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The religious facility will be built on Veals Roads, southeast of downtown Murfreesboro, and replace the current Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The hearing over a lawsuit to stop a controversial mosque focused on one key question Tuesday, whether local planners acted properly in approving the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro earlier this year.

For several hours on Tuesday, an attorney for those hoping to stop the new mosque peppered Rutherford County Planning Director Doug Demosi with questions about how the mosque was initially approved for site development in May.

"We cannot discriminate or make any law that makes preference for one religious organization over another," Demosi told the court.

The plaintiff's attorney, Joe Brandon, repeated some of the strong words he said Monday.

"I said in my opening statement, I believe it's a bunch of cowards up there… stricken by fear and ignorance," Brandon said before Chancery Court Judge Robert Corlew.

Several times during the morning proceedings, Brandon suggested county officials feared a lawsuit if they did not approve the new Islamic center, which is currently under construction on Veals Road, southeast of downtown Murfreesboro.

At one point, Attorney Jim Cope, who is defending the mosque lawsuit, objected angrily to some questions posed to the planning director.

"This is repetitive questions and repetitive answers to the same material," he said in exasperated tone.

Opponents of the mosque filled many of the courtroom seats, hoping to see a judge do what they feel county official should have done, stop construction of the mosque.

They may have to wait awhile to see if the judge will grant the temporary restraining order.

The hearing will resume on Wednesday morning, but only for two hours.  Three consecutive days, from October 20 to October 22, have been set aside to finish testimony.

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