Feds file legal brief in support of Murfreesboro mosque
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Federal attorneys have filed a legal brief in support of a building a mosque in Murfreesboro that argues Islam is a religion entitled to constitutional protection.
The brief was filed Monday in a lawsuit brought by mosque opponents against Rutherford County for granting permission for construction of the mosque.
U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin said his office would not sit idly by while mosque opponents raise questions in court about whether Islam is a recognized religion.
"We want Rutherford County to understand that they may be in violation of federal law if they deny individuals wanting to build that mosque any kind of construction permit based on an improper analysis that Islam is not a religion," Martin said.
Mosque opponents are challenging whether the county acted properly in granting the construction permit for the mosque earlier this year.
While some in the community say they oppose the center because it would create traffic problems, others have implied that the mosque could be a haven for terrorists.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has faced much opposition in recent months.
In August, someone set fire to construction equipment parked at the construction site and the sign marking the future site was vandalized twice this year, once in January and once in June.
The mosque has also received harassing phone calls and emails.
The ATF and FBI continue to investigate the mosque arson.
Leaders of the mosque have said a new building, currently under construction off Veals Road and Bradyville Pike, is needed to accommodate their growing needs.