U.S. media is reporting that the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit seeking to force a Tennessee county to act promptly on a controversial mosque’s application for an occupancy permit. According to a UPI report:
NASHVILLE, July 18 (UPI) — The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to force a Tennessee county to act promptly on a new mosque’s application for an occupancy permit. Rutherford County refused to process or issue a certificate of occupancy as a result of a state chancery court order last month in response to a motion brought by opponents of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, the Justice Department said in a news release. The opponents had challenged whether Islam is a religion and made ‘unfounded allegations accusing the Islamic Center of being connected to a terrorist organization,’ a Justice Department memo stated. In the suit, the federal government alleges Rutherford County violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. The Justice Department complaint states a certificate of occupancy is needed immediately so the Islamic Center can hold worship services at the facility during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins at sundown Thursday. ’Our nation was founded on bedrock principles of religious liberty. The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce civil rights laws that protect religious freedom,’ Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Rights Division, said in the release. ‘When a faith community follows the rules, as the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has done in seeking to construct its place of worship, it is impermissible to change the rules in a discriminatory way that prevents people of faith from exercising their fundamental right to worship.’ ’The United States Attorney’s Office will zealously protect every citizen’s right to worship and assemble,’ Jerry E. Martin, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said in the release. ‘If we do not protect the rights of these congregants in Rutherford County, then the rights of all people are endangered and diminished.’
A post from January reported on the the start of construction of the new facility. An earlier post had reported that according to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, one of its officials met with the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM) board “to develop strategies for the community to overcome the challenges they currently face while building their mosque.” Another earlier post discussed the original plans for the facility and reported exclusively that the reading list of the ICM suggested ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
In June, Frontpage published a report titled “Is Hamas Building a 53,000 Square Foot Facility in America?” which examines the ICM, its proposed new mosque and community facility, and an ICM board member who has posted pictures on the internet expressing his love for Hamas.