Mosque [Flickr: Nicolas Laughlin]

Religious freedom for Murfreesboro mosque despite recent block on occupancy

CNN and KLTV report the indictment of Javier Alan Correa, 24, of Corpus Christi, Texas, by federal authorities for threatening to bomb the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in 2011. At the announcement for the indictment, United States Attorney Jerry Martin spoke to the right to religious freedom and its guarantee to the American Muslim community:

The Department of Justice will not tolerate violence or threat of violence against the Muslim community here in Murfreesboro… The right to worship and assemble is a bedrock guarantee of this great nation.

Police are still searching for the parties responsible for arson and vandalism attacks on the mosque in 2010. More immediately, the County has just blocked the mosque's occupancy permit on the grounds that it did not provide enough public notice for a 2010 site-approval meeting. As in other cases of mosque opposition in the US, some claim that this legal technicality is being used as a veneer for the discriminatory blocking of a Muslim place of worship.

Blake Farmer at NPR reported on the role of fear and discrimination against Islam in the Murfreesboro controversy, as having started “as an attempt by mosque opponents to put the religion of Islam on trial.” To illustrate the fear-mongering at work in this dispute, Farmer quoted attorney Joe Brandon’s statement that the imposition of “Shariah law” was a “probability” if the mosque was allowed in Murfreesboro. Brandon contined, stating

Shariah law is not religion, and I'm unaware of any situation where you can separate Shariah law out from under Islam. Quite frankly, I see that as a problem.

Despite the loud minority of opposition, Farmer notes that most Murfreesboro residents are either indifferent or unaware of the mosque's existence.

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