Opposing sides come face-to-face at mosque rally - WKRN News 2

Opposing sides come face-to-face at mosque rally

Those for and against the mosque stood side by side at Thursday night's rally. Those for and against the mosque stood side by side at Thursday night's rally.
The sign marking the mosque site was found ripped in half on Wednesday. The sign marking the mosque site was found ripped in half on Wednesday.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Those for and against a new mosque in Murfreesboro came face-to-face at a tolerance rally held Thursday night by supporters of the religious facility.

Slated to be built on Veals Road, southwest of town, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro will be much larger and replace the current, smaller center on Middle Tennessee Boulevard.

Many neighbors are upset about the new location and a sign erected at the site has been vandalized twice this year, most recently on Wednesday, when it was found ripped in half.

Thursday morning, the Islamic center was thrust into in the area's congressional race when Republican candidate Lou Ann Zelenik issued a statement that said, in part, she "stands with everyone who is opposed to the idea of an Islamic training center being built in our community."

The statement continued, "This Islamic center is not part of a religious movement, it is a political movement designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee."

Darrell Bouldin led Thursday night's tolerance rally at the Rutherford County Courthouse, which included prayer, meditation and song.

Jimmy Carter, who opposes the mosque, attended the rally but left after it was apparent he had enough.

"When they try to kill you folks, I wish you well.  God bless you, I am leaving," said Carter, who identified himself as a leader of the Tennessee Minutemen, a group devoted to protecting the nation's borders.

Also against the mosque, Evy Summers stood in the background of the rally inside the courthouse holding a sign that read, "No Mosque."

"This is a militarized type religion, this is not a religion like Christianity, they are out to overthrow this government and this country," she said after the rally was over.

Trudy Greer also attended the rally but in support of the planned Islamic center.

"I actually have the honor of working with a lot of students and families who happen to be Muslim," she said, "and I need to be here to support them."

The center will be built next to Grace Baptist Church.

A member of the church, Bill Toler told News 2, "Even if we disagree on our religious beliefs we can still be good neighbors, be friends."

"It's a bad situation," he continued, referencing the most recent vandalism.  "I don't know why people are like that."

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has encouraged the community to come and learn about their religion and will hold an open house this weekend.

The open house is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday at the center's present location at 862 Middle Tennessee Boulevard.

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