NASHVILLE: A judge ruled on Tuesday that the local Tennessee government had failed to follow proper procedures in granting a permit for the construction of a mosque, casting doubt on the future of the place of worship, which is nearly complete.
Judge Robert Corlew ruled that the Rutherford County planning commission had not given enough public notice prior to a 2010 meeting when mosque plans were approved, effectively nullifying the building permit.
A civil rights group on Tuesday called on the US Justice Department to step in if the planning commission does not act “immediately” to reissue permits for construction of the 52,000-plus-square-foot (4,830-plus-square-meter) mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, about 34 miles south of Nashville.
“If you read the judge’s ruling, it is clear he sought a heightened standard of public notice for an issue that involves Muslims,” Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Joe Brandon Jr., attorney for the group opposed to the mosque, said that if the nearly completed construction did not stop immediately, his group would seek a court injunction on Wednesday.
“This was a huge victory,” Brandon said. “This is the first time in the United States that the political entity of Islam has been stopped in its tracks.”
The anti-mosque group has battled construction for the two years since the approval was granted to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The arguments against the mosque included that Islam is not a real religion protected by the US Constitution.
County Attorney James Cope said local officials would review the ruling to decide what to do.
The Tennessee case is the latest example of controversy surrounding efforts to build mosques for a growing number of people practicing Islam in the United States.
The case that attracted the most attention in recent years was a plan to build an Islamic center near the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
More in WorldChina urges world to recognise Pak efforts