Ruling from Murfreesboro Chancery Court Stops Mosque Opening
Imam Bahloul, Islamic Center of Murfreesboro
Source: Daily News Journal
This morning, Rutherford County Court Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III issued a response to the Writ of Mandamus filed by Plaintiffs on June 6th and heard on June 13th. Those legal actions were triggered by Corlew’s June 1st ruling that inadequate notice was provided the county’s citizens before the hearing of May 24, 2010 of the Regional Planning Commission approved the mega-mosque for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM). The June 1st ruling by Chancellor Corlew followed hearings on this issue in April 2012. Effectively, the ruling today prevented the County from issuing a certificate of occupancy for the first phase of the expanded ICM of over 12,500 square feet until all appeals by the plaintiffs under the Tennessee Open Meetings Act are concluded. That may well prevent the new mosque located at 2700 Veals Road from being opened at this time prior to the onset of the Islamic religious period of Ramadan that begins on July 20th. Chancellor Corlew had directed the County to re-open hearings on the mosque approval based on notifications that met the standards of the Open Meetings Act.
“Is this court going to put some teeth in the law or is this going to be the first ruling in the small town of Rutherford County where the courts give recognition and honor to Sharia law,” plaintiffs’ attorney Joe Brandon asked the chancellor in his presentation this morning.
Brandon called the chancellor’s ruling a “huge victory” and said he expects him to issue an order requiring the county end construction of the mosque, which is nearly complete.
The chancellor told county attorneys he would not reverse his previous ruling that voided a vote by the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission when it approved the ICM’s site plan in May 2010. Corlew ruled that the county failed to provide adequate public notice for the meeting by advertising it in a small ad in the Murfreesboro Post. The notice was not placed on the county’s website or on its cable TV channel.
Corlew noted that he gave the county specific instructions that would allow the ICM to go back through the approval process.
But County Attorney Jim Cope said afterward that the county can’t advertise for another meeting because the ICM hasn’t filed another application. He noted that ICM officials said they weren’t going to file another application on a “matter of principle.”
“We can’t make somebody re-apply and hold a hearing,” Cope said.
While the devil is in the details of Chancellor Corlew’s ruling to be issued this evening, at issue is what legal action will several parties at interest in the conflict on Mosque expansion in Middle Tennessee take? We note the references by the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) monitoring of the Chancery Court proceedings, at a recent press conference held at the ICM site by US Attorney for Nashville Jerry Martin. The press conference concerned an indictment of a Texas man who allegedly made bombing threats against the ICM. Martin said at the press conference:
The Department of Justice, the FBI and our law enforcement partners’ intent to protect the rights afforded under the Constitution to all individuals, including the most basic right to exercise freedom of religious beliefs. The controversy and criminal activity surrounding the construction of this particular place of worship has impeded the ability of people to exercise that most basic right,” Martin said.
“We will continue to monitor the progress of construction and legal proceedings at the local level to insure these citizens are able to enjoy all basic liberties guaranteed under the Constitution.”
The Regional County Planning Commission had voted 6 to 1 to appeal Chancellor Corlew’s June 1st ruling. In our blog post on that and plaintiff’s motions we noted that the Commission “deemed [Corlew’s ruling as] discriminatory under Tennessee and Federal Law. The Regional Planning Commission did not indicate whether they might reopen the approval process as suggested in Corlew’s June 1st order.”
Further we noted the comments of lead plaintiff Kevin Fisher:
I have no doubt whatsoever that the rights of the local citizens to be notified will be upheld,” Fisher said. “What I find tragic is that we have a county government so arrogant, so corrupted by power, they are willing to trample on the rights of law abiding citizens in the name of political correctness. Political correctness has no place in this debate. This issue was judged solely on the merits of the facts alone, not hype and angry rhetoric. That’s an honorable standard to set, and only in America is this even possible. To now challenge this standard is offensive to all of us who long for a day when one's race, creed, color or religion plays no part in discussions, and where the only issue of relevance is merit.
It would appear that Fisher, plaintiffs’ counsel Brandon and many opponents of the approval process for the expanded ICM at the Veals Road site may be encouraged by today’s Chancery Court ruling.
Renowned Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Welner and I had the opportunity to confer about such matters at the Annual Meeting of Louisiana District Attorneys Association in Florida today. He was a guest lecturer at the professional prosecutors gathering. He asked me why the Murfreesboro mosque matter was important and what likely next steps might be with today’s ruling in mind. I told him that the Muslim Brotherhood has made this cause célèbre in a state where Muslims represents less than one percent of Tennessee 6.3 million population. The media, federal, state and local government have acquiesced to demands by Muslim Brotherhood advocacy groups n the grounds of First Amendment rights of freedom of worship.
Given the USDOJ, County and ICM contention that the Chancery Court actions are discriminatory under Tennessee and Federal laws granting exemptions from local zoning approval, I told Welner it is likely that during the appeals we will once again witness the US Attorney for Nashville Martin and the ADL filing amicus briefs, as they did during the original 2010-2011 hearing. Let us see what develops in this continuing contretemps over mosque expansion in the American heartland propelled by the influence campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood in our midst.
Isn't anyone in power, anywhere in the world, not thinking that the construction of all these mega mosques is a bit sinister. Suddenly they are springing up all over the place, they will turn out to be their temples of power when the jihad finally comes, which it will. If islam were merely a religion just maybe there wouldn't be so much of a problem but most can see it for what it really is, a totalitarian political ideology with its sight on world domination. Stand up to them now or live under them, it's really that serious now.