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Murfreesboro: Attorney Vows to Maintain Fight against Mosque

21 December 2010 6 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

(hat tip: Eric Allen Bell)

ISLAMIC CENTER LAWSUIT: Attorney vows to maintain fight against mosque

The attorney representing residents suing Rutherford County over a proposed mosque solicited the public Friday for help — and money — while pledging to continue the court fight.

“The plaintiffs fully intend to continue to gather facts and evidence and proceed to a final hearing,” Murfreesboro lawyer Joe M. Brandon Jr. states in a “response” sent to media. “It is anticipated that the final hearing will occur after the full completion of discovery. This should be some time over the course of the next year.”

Brandon is representing plaintiffs Kevin Fisher, Lisa Moore and Henry Golczynski who filed suit after the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro acquired site plan approval May 24 from the county’s Regional Planning Commission to build a 52,960-square-foot community center with a mosque on Veals Road off Bradyville Pike southeast of Murfreesboro’s city limits.

The lawsuit challenges whether the county provided sufficient notice to the public about the agenda item and also questions whether Islam is a religion and should be afforded land use rights as with other churches.

Chancellor Robert Corlew Jr. concluded after several days of testimony spread over three months this fall that “Islam is in fact a religion” and found no grounds to issue a temporary restraining order to halt the mosque’s construction.

Brandon, though, notes in his letter that at the conclusion of the temporary hearing, the trial court ruled, ” … we are startled to find that the case advocated by the Defendants as the authoritative holding that Islam is a religion was actually a case wherein the Supreme Court held that display of aChristmas tree with an angel proclaiming ‘Glory to God in the highest’ on the stairway of a county courthouse had the effect of endorsing a Christian message.”

The trial court went on to state, “[w]e stress in our holding that there is a distinction between a legal finding that Islam is a religion compared with a religious finding that Islam is a religion. The religious scholars may debate for a lengthy period of time whether Islam meets their definition of a religion.”

Brandon argued repeatedly during the hearing that the Islamic Center poses a threat to the community based on the tenants of Shariah Law, and therefore should not be deemed a religion. It’s a point that Brandon says he will continue to challenge at the full hearing in the case.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, meanwhile, has been charging ahead with its building plans on 15 acres. The congregation hopes to submit more detailed plans to obtain a building permit by March or April, said Saleh Sbenaty, a planning committee member for the Muslim congregation.

“We’re just finishing up the grading,” Sbenaty said during a Friday night phone interview. “The grading is taking more time because of the weather. After the grading is done, we will send the whole package for the building permit.”

Phase I of the building plans will be in the 10,000- to 11,000-square-foot range and include a reception hall that will also serve as a prayer area, an office for the imam (religious leader) and a small meeting room that can also serve as a nursery.

If enough money is available in Phase I, the ICM will also seek to build two outdoor pavilions and a playground between the two, added Sbenaty, an 18-year MTSU professor who teaches courses in electronics and computers for the Engineering Technology Department.

Long-term plans include a formal mosque area for worship, classrooms for weekend religious study, a gym, indoor pool, more offices, a multipurpose sports field, a basketball/tennis court and a private cemetery for ICM members.

Brandon, in addition to vowing to continue efforts to halt the project, implored anyone with information relevant to the case to forward it to his office.

“Additionally, should anyone feel led to make a donation toward attorney’s fees or other mandatory related costs, please give me a call, wherein, these matters can be discussed in depth,” Brandon states.

Original post: Murfreesboro: Attorney Vows to Maintain Fight against Mosque


  1. Once again, Islam is under attack.

    This article did not conclude with the attorney begging for attorney fee donations……!!


  2. But why is Islam under attack…..again….!!

    The Muslim community is seeking to build an Islamic center which includes a mosque (a place to worship God).

    But wait…..! Is this some extremist group teaching some extremist view of “Islam”? NO!! There has been absolutely no evidence of such from this group of Muslims. The attack that they are facing is built solely upon the pure ignorance that the plaintiffs have regarding their hatred of & knowledge on Islam (or, rather, lack thereof).

  3. Because it’s Islam and and being a Muslim they are a big issue ,but if it was another religion whose building a church and whose main purpose to be tax exempt there is no big thing about it.I’m ashame of how this so called christians hypocrates.

  4. Fear and ignorance are a toxic pair. So these people believe that somehow this center is sending out Islamic Policemen to randomly dipense Islamic justice on the unsuspecting populace of Murfreesboro? Sounds like a Monty Python skit,”nobody expects the Spanish Inqusition!” Wait a minute, that was Christianity! Intolerance, injustice and discrimination create terrorists, not religion. Ask the French that treat immigrant Algerians like less than 4th class citizens why their ghettos are a hot bed of terrorist recruiting. Ask the Germans during WWII where the Dutch and French were repressed and controlled that those countries were hot beds for terrorists (freedom fighters).

  5. Once again my home state embarrasses me. What idiots. The religious right has taken every advantage of the RLIUIP act to force localities to grant zoning and other concessions so they can spread their bullshit creed.

    The Muslims who want to build their center should be afforded the same concessions as Christians. They are, after all, a major religion in this world.

    Sorry Christian hypocrites. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. You want religious freedom then live your talk.

  6. While watching the related story on CNN tonight I came to the conclusion that Mr. Joe Brandon is a part-time lawyer whereas he has a very lucrative full-time job as a circus clown. The clown gig obviously pays better that the “lawyerin’ job” since he always seems to be dressed in full clown attire.

    It is unfortunate that there are so many ignorant folks in the 21st century in the world.

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