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Hey Folks, Islam is a Religion after all!

28 October 2010 Loonwatch.com 3 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Ummm….thank you…I guess?

Murfreesboro mosque debate: U.S. Department of Justice says Islam is a religion

BY BRIAN HAAS • THE TENNESSEAN • OCTOBER 18, 2010

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday waded into the debate over a proposed mosque near Murfreesboro on Monday, saying that Islam is a valid religion.

The department on Monday filed a brief in a lawsuit challenging the proposed mosque, arguing that Islam is an officially recognized religion and warning Rutherford County officials that treating Islam as anything other than a religion could violate civil rights laws.

U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin will be holding a 1 p.m. press conference today to discuss the brief.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is in the process of trying to build new worship facilities after outgrowing their Murfreesboro location. About 18 months ago, religious leaders there decided to develop land they bought at Veals Road and Bradyville Pike to host their new 10,000-square foot center, which would house worship services, receptions, classrooms, a gym and a pool. Outside, they hope to build sporting areas, a playground, a pavilion and a cemetery on the 15-acre site.

Tensions have been high about the proposed mosque, with competing rallies in and around Murfreesboro both for and against the proposal.

Opponents of the mosque have filed suit against Rutherford County officials, accusing the county of not properly notifying the public about the proposal. The lawsuit also argues that Islam is not a valid religion, but a political movement that is looking to supplant U.S. laws with Muslim laws.

The Department of Justice in its brief was blunt of that assessment.

“Every court addressing the question has treated Islam as a religion for purposes of the First Amendment and other federal laws. No court has held otherwise,” the brief reads. “Islam falls plainly within the understanding of a religion for constitutional and other federal legal purposes…”

The Department of Justice brief does not argue whether the proposed center itself should be approved, only that Islam is an officially recognized religion.

Federal law enforcement officials continue to investigate the arson of construction equipment at the site of the proposed mosque.

Contact Brian Haas at 615-726-8968 or bhaas@tennessean.com.

Original post: Hey Folks, Islam is a Religion after all!

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3 Comments »

  1. It strikes me as being counter productive to have such a sarcastic tone attached to this article. The base ignorance inherent in determining that Islam (a religion that has been extant for a millennia) is a political movement, is the very reason Americans against Islamophobia exists. Our mandate is to educate those who are ignorant, not devolve to their level.

  2. Dr. Muhammad al Alkhuli, a popular Islamic scholar, says: “Islam is a religion, but not in the western meaning of religion. The western connotation of the term “religion” is something between the believer and God. Islam as a religion organizes all aspects of life on both the individual and national levels. Islam organizes your relations with God, with yourself, with your children, with your relatives, with your neighbor, with your guest, and with other brethren. Islam clearly establishes your duties and rights in all those relationships. Islam establishes a clear system of worship, civil rights, laws of marriage and divorce, laws of inheritance, code of behavior, what not to drink, what to wear, and what not to wear, how to worship God, how to govern, the laws of war and peace, when to go to war, when to make peace, the law of economics, and the laws of buying and selling. Islam is a complete code of life.”

  3. The Peaceful Many and the Violent Few

    By Eric Allen Bell

    I am not complaining when I tell you that, since starting production on a documentary about the backlash in Murfreesboro, TN against the building of a new Islamic Center, I get hate mail daily. Given the rise of Islamophobia, the history of intolerance in the South and my sometimes aggressive style in going after the truth, I really have no right to complain if people don’t like me.

    But lately the hate mail has changed to threatening emails and threats of violence online. Surveillance equipment has gone up around my house. Last night as a friend drove away from my house, two police cars followed him for a few blocks just to make sure everything was okay. And I might add that the Murfreesboro Police Department have been professional, supportive and on top of their game when it comes to keeping all of us, on all sides of this debate, safe. It’s unfortunate however that it would come to this.

    But what is most surprising and disappointing is that the people making these threats identify themselves as being Christian. Now let me just say right away that the vast majority of Christian people are like anyone else, peaceful and nonviolent. I can think of a few other religions where I could say the exact same thing. It would be wrong of me to judge an entire group of people based on the violent actions and rhetoric of a radical few. And even when you see an angry mob of them parading down Main Street with their hate-filled signs, it seems like there are a lot of them. But still, they really do only represent a fringe element within the Christian faith.

    And the same thing goes for the act of terrorism against the Mosque that took place at the construction site of the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro on August 28th. Just because it has been people identifying themselves as Christians who have been fanning the flames of hatred against this small minority group is no reason to assume that all Christians are full of hatred, judgment, condemnation or intolerance. Even though I often find myself getting angry at these people, it just wouldn’t be fair to lump them all together and assume that everyone who identifies themselves as Christian must therefore be a hatemonger who supports threats of violence and acts of aggression.

    I am sure it would be offensive to many Christians if I or someone else where to suggest that they all follow Pat Robertson for instance. Just because the radical Evangelical movement in America is at least 30 million strong and just because a few hundred thousand of them gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. also on August 28th to hear Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin support ideas such as homophobia and turning America into a Christian theocracy is no reason to assume that all Christians are like this.

    From what I understand about Christianity, Jesus taught two basic principles:

    1 – Love God with all your heart mind and soul, and;

    2 – Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Well there it is. So even though the book of Leviticus in the Bible talks about stoning your children if they talk back to you and even though the Bible is filled with passages where God allegedly tells this person or that person to go out and essentially commit acts of ethnic cleansing, I prefer to focus on what Christianity says it is about today. They say they are about the teachings of Jesus and I am going to take them at their word.

    I’m not going to let some outdated passages in their holy book and the violent and hateful actions of a fringe element distort my views on Christianity or the 2 billion people worldwide who call themselves Christian. These are our friends and neighbors and I am sure that true Christians throughout Murfreesboro and all over the world would not condone the hate speech and intolerance of a few million whackos.

    Eric Allen Bell

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