Mufreesboro Mosque Opponents Hope To Take Fight To State Supreme Court

Aug 1, 2013

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
Credit Saleh Sbenaty, ICM

Opponents of a Murfreesboro mosque are headed back to court, this time with the hopes the Tennessee Supreme Court will hear their argument.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has been complete and open to worshipers for nearly a year, but that hasn’t stopped local opponents from continuing an appeal against its construction. Plaintiffs claim Rutherford County failed to give adequate public notice before approving the mosque's construction in May of 2010.

The plaintiffs' attorneys, Joe Brandon and Thomas Smith, want the Tennessee Supreme Court to overturn an appellate decision that cleared the way for the congregation to move into its new building. Islamic Center of Murfreesboro board member Saleh Sbenaty told the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal the appeal is a waste of energy and tax money.

“We have been here for over 30 years," Sbenaty told the paper. "This is our home. We are productive members of our community. We have no other place to go.”                           

The state Supreme Court may not decide whether to hear the appeal for several more months, and even if they do agree to hear the case, the legal ramifications are unclear. Plaintiffs want the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to re-file its construction application, but the building is already finished and occupied.