Local Muslims worry about anti-Islamic messages - WKRN News 2

Local Muslims worry about anti-Islamic messages

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The sign on the site of the future Murfreesboro Islamic center was vandalized earlier this year. The sign on the site of the future Murfreesboro Islamic center was vandalized earlier this year.
Construction equipment on the mosque site was set on fire in August. Construction equipment on the mosque site was set on fire in August.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Muslims across Middle Tennessee and the world celebrated the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Friday.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The holiday is marked by fasting from dawn until sunset.

Amid the holiday festivities, some Muslims fear growing Anti-Islamic tensions ahead of the ninth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

"I, as a Muslim, can not take responsibility of a few criminals who committed such heinous and indescribable acts," Mosque member Dr. Saleh Sbenaty said. "I am sure this will hopefully die down, but it's unfortunate to be in this position."

In recent weeks, mosque members have seen escalating opposition to their new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

What started as vandalizing a sign announcing the new center has increased to the arson of construction equipment on August 28.

The ATF and FBI are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the fire.

The ATF told News 2 Friday they are still investigating the fire, and no arrests have been announced.

"The community is very concerned," Sbenaty said. "Attendance has been a down little bit from where it was at before."

Reverend Bob Old of Springfield plans to burn three copies of the Qu'ran in his backyard Saturday to mark the September 11th attacks.

Old's plan is much like that of Pastor Terry Jones of Florida.

He planned to burn copies of the Muslim holy book to protest a Mosque planned near Ground Zero. 

Jones postponed his planned burning.

"I do not want to see any holy book burned because it is hatred toward all the people who are practicing this religion," Sbenaty said. "That is hatred toward any human being."

Sbenaty told News 2 all Muslims should not be grouped with the Muslims who carried out the attacks on September 11, 2001.

"I cannot say every Christian behaves like Timothy McVeigh or those who bomb abortion clinics," he said.

Sbenaty hopes the current climate surrounding Islam will soon pass and the members can continue to build their new facility so they can worship there in peace.

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