Proposed mosque brings threat of lawsuit to commissioners - WKRN News 2

Proposed mosque brings threat of lawsuit to commissioners

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A standing room only crowd filled the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday night.

A group of Murfreesboro residents had planned to present commissioners with a petition asking them to stop progress on the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

Now, a community organizer, Kevin Fisher, said the group will wait until the new county board of commissioners begins their terms.

"We ask and are going to continue to ask all future work on this mosque be halted until proper environmental studies, water studies and traffic studies can be analyzed," he said.

The 52,000 square foot center is planned for a section of land near Bradyville Pike in Murfreesboro.

James Estes lives near the proposed site. He was one of close to 20 people who signed up for the public comment section of the commissioner's meeting.

"We live in a time where home values are already strained," Estes said. "A project of this size will no doubt have a negative impact on the area."

Other opponents said the planning commission did not give the public enough notice before approving the worship center.

The commission also allowed the burial of one of the mosque's members at the proposed site.

"I know conspiracy is a funny, dirty word," Murfreesboro resident Sally Wall said, "but that's what it looks like to the community."

Laurie Cordoza-Moore called for an investigation into the board of directors of the mosque as well as donors, employees and attorneys for the organization.

"It is your duty as our elected officials," she said. "Failure to investigate this mater is not only a violation of the duties of county commissioners; it's also a legal liability for this commission."

Cordoza-Moore said if they board does not investigate, the board of commissioners as a body, and individually, would be sued. She did not say who would file the lawsuit.

"We respectfully request that you stay the enforcement of the previous vote to allow thing building of the mosque," she said.

Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom also attended Thursday's meeting.

The group wore yellow t-shirts as a sign of support for the mosque. Before the commissioners meeting,they held a silent protest outside.

"I'm really proud to be part of a group of individuals who are standing up for what's right and religious freedom," member Layla Hantouli said.

The development of the Islamic center is set to happen in five phases over the next several years.

When it is complete, the center is supposed to have a swimming pool, gym and day school.

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