Rutherford Co. judge considers stopping mosque construction - WKRN News 2

Rutherford Co. judge considers stopping mosque construction

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A Rutherford County judge is expected to make a ruling Tuesday on temporary restraining order to stop construction on the controversial Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

Strong words flew around the courtroom during a hearing Monday.

"Our local government, whom I believe the proof will show, are cowards, stricken by fear and ignorance in this particular case," Joe Brandon, the plaintiff's attorney, said in opening statements.

He tried to connect local mosque leaders to the violent interpretations of Islamic Sharia law and even terrorist groups.

"Essam Fathy submitted the site plan application which there will be testimony that there is a connection with Hamas," said Brandon, while citing the U.S. Government that considers Hamas a terrorist group.

Mosque opponents brought in a former Reagan Administration defense official who now runs a Washington think tank called the Center for Security Policy.

Frank Gaffney said local officials should have concerns.

"I believe at the end of the day, to keep America Sharia-free will depend on efforts like this, in Murfreesboro," said Gaffney.

The county attorney's Jim Pope, who defends the planning commission, did not want to hear about fears of Sharia law at the mosque site.

"I would object to a trial of Sharia law or anything else that might be in the context of the Muslim religion as to whether that is relevant or not," he said.

Judge Robert Corlew must decide whether the county planning commission "acted appropriately" or "possibly illegally" in approving construction of the mosque. 

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