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Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Mosque; Another Lawsuit?

It wasn't even on the agenda, but Thursday night's Rutherford County commission meeting led to a hot debate over a proposed mosque. Now, some neighbors are even threatening to sue.There are obviously two sides to this issue. Some opponents say it's an environmental issue and they are calling for a water and traffic study.But the question remains, is this about the building or the people who want to worship there?From the opponent, to the supporters, to a swarm of media, they all showed up at Thursday night's Rutherford County commission meeting.James Estes owns one of the closest homes to the proposed mosque. He took the stand and said, “Once again, I want to express that I don’t want a 52,000 square foot anything next to my house. According to Wikipedia, the average size of a Wal-Mart in the united states is 42,000 square feet.”Even though the mosque issue wasn't on the meeting agenda, 25 people signed up to speak, most against the center planned for the corner of Bradyville Pike and Veals Road.However, one group, Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom, came in support of the commission's recent decision to allow the Islamic Center to be built.Member Yessi Vincent said, “These are other citizens of our community. They show the same constitutional rights as we do and they have a right to worship just as any Christian, Jew, or anyone else in our community would have that right.”Longtime Rutherford County resident Sally Wall questioned how quickly the whole process was approved.“A lot of us kind think it almost looks like a conspiracy,” said Wall.The consensus among the opponents is they want the county commission to stop the progress until all of their questions are answered.Laurie Cordoza-Moore, who said she represented citizens of Rutherford County, threatened a lawsuit if commissioners don’t investigate the corporate board, the officers, employees, advisers, and donors to the current Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.“Failure to investigate this matter is not only a violation of the duty of the county commissioners, but will also result in potential legal liability for this commission,” said Cordoza-Moore.“I think despite the fact that they have been talking about a lot of traffic concerns and things like that, the real issue is Islamophobia in our community. People don’t really understand the Islamic religion and they don’t understand the Muslim community here and they are afraid,” said Vincent.One commissioner asked about Cordoza-Moore's concerns. He asked the county attorney to look into it.As for the group launching the fight against the mosque, they plan to file a petition at the next commission meeting asking for the plans to be postponed until more of their questions are answered.

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