Gunshots heard near Murfreesboro Islamic center site - WKRN News 2

Gunshots heard near Murfreesboro Islamic center site

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Shots were heard near the site of the new Islamic center just hours after an arsonist set fire to construction equipment. Shots were heard near the site of the new Islamic center just hours after an arsonist set fire to construction equipment.
In January, vandals spray-painted the sign. In January, vandals spray-painted the sign.
In June, the sign was ripped apart. In June, the sign was ripped apart.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether gunshots heard Sunday near the construction site of the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is in anyway connected to a suspicious fire a day earlier.

In the early morning hours Saturday, someone set fire to construction equipment parked at the site, located off Veals Road at Bradyville Pike.

Sunday, area residents reported they heard several gunshots.  Investigators do not know if the shots came from someone trying to threaten mosque members or from nearby hunters.

Either way, it has mosque members on edge.

The incidents come after months of public outcry against building the Islamic center.

The sign marking the site was vandalized twice this year, once in January and once in June, after Rutherford County commissioners approved the project.

The mosque has also received harassing phone calls and emails.

Islamic Center of Murfreesboro spokeswoman Camie Ayash said while security at the mosque has been increased, they're telling members to stay away for now.

She added the incidents have drawn attention from all corners of the globe.

"It's even been international.  We've had Channel 2 Denmark, someone from Japan, Radio New Zealand.  It's all over the world to be honest with you, really making a bad name for Rutherford County," said Ayash.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating Saturday's fire and asks anyone with information to call 1-888-ATF-FIRE or 1-888-289-9473.

Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom have scheduled a vigil in response to the fire.  It is set for Monday at 7 p.m. in front of the Rutherford County Courthouse.

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