Rutherford Co. judge won't stop mosque construction
Nov 17, 2010 11:32 PM CST
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – A Rutherford County judge has ruled in favor of the county in a suit seeking a temporary restraining order to stop work at the site of a proposed mosque.
Plaintiffs had sued Rutherford County, claiming that the county's planning commission violated Tennessee's open meetings law when they approved the site plan for the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in May.
Chancellor Robert Corlew said although he did express some reservations about whether county officials gave adequate notice about the building of the mosque, he found "no evidence the county acted illegally, arbitrarily or capriciously in approving the mosque."
He said he also found no evidence of illegal activity at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in the more than two decades it has operated at its current facility downtown.
Closing arguments on what was the ninth day in court since late September got underway at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Plaintiffs' attorney Joe Brandon Jr. continued to try and link the mosque and its members to terrorism as he has throughout the proceedings.
He called Rutherford County's planning director "deranged" and "deceptive" and referred to local officials as "shady, dirty local government."
He added the U.S. attorney "don't know beans about this case."
Brandon also asked the court, "What would you have done if Osama Bin Laden wanted a building permit, would you have approved it?"
He concluded, "It would be a total miscarriage of justice to not void the action of the planning commission."
County attorney Josh McCreary told the court that "there has been nothing illegal" about the approval of the mosque, currently under construction off Veals Road southeast of downtown Murfreesboro.
"The planning commission has followed customary practices," he added.
To the defendants, McCreary said, "You can't just cherry pick what religious institution you're interested in," and went on to reference the Baptist church that was built next door to the mosque site.
He continued, "If it wasn't a mosque, we would not be here in court."
Attorney Brandon has indicated in court he would appeal such ruling.