Tennessee Flag [Flickr: Michael Hodge]

A big week in anti-Islam activism in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

USA Today reports that Eric Allen Bell, a documentary filmmaker who created the short film Not Welcome, documenting the pushback against the Murfreesboro, Tennessee Muslim community, is not an outspoken opponent against the mosque project. In a recent op-ed for the “anti-Islam” website Jihad Watch, he accused mosque developers of terrorist ties, and is working on a Facebook style network for anti-Islam activists.

He now says some mosque foes are concerned citizens whose methods for fighting the mosque were flawed.

“It doesn't help when you show up in red, white and blue and spout Bible verses,” he said.

Mosque foes, he said, should be honest about why they oppose the project.

“Don't say that you are concerned about traffic and then out of the other side of your mouth say you are concerned about Shariah,” he said. “Say you are concerned about Shariah.”

The Knoxville News reports that the Center for Security Policy and the 8th District Tea Party Coalition–groups which actively oppose the expansion of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center–are pressuring the state to fire attorney Samar Ali “based on her religion.” Ali was appointed last month as the new international director for the state's Economic and Community Development office. Referring to her as an “Islamic fundamentalist,” the two groups

have zeroed in on Ali's resume as a corporate lawyer who helped Muslim-owned companies arrange deals to fit with Islam's ban on collecting interest and comply with other religious rules.

The groups have claimed she has and continues to work with “financial jihadists” who “seek to embed Shariah law into America's financial system.”

Chas Sisk at The Tennessean notes that the Center for Security Policy, led by Frank Gaffney, has “frequently involved itself in Tennessee politics in recent years.”

Its head, Frank Gaffney, testified in litigation seeking to stop construction of a Rutherford County mosque. An attorney associated with the organization drafted legislation that would have let Tennessee officials label as terrorist any organization that follows Shariah, a loosely defined set of rules and religious laws.

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