MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- There are new developments this week in the long-running legal challenge to the construction of a Murfreesboro mosque.
On Monday, attorneys for 17 mid-state plaintiffs filed papers asking the Tennessee Supreme Court to review a lower court decision rejecting the plaintiff’s claims.
Plaintiffs and their attorneys have, throughout the extended legal challenge, tried to focus the case on the Muslim faith in general and Islamic Sharia Law in particular.
The courts have rejected that aspect of the case at every level, focusing instead on whether the Rutherford County Planning Commission gave sufficient public notice for the meeting at which the mosque’s construction was approved.
But attorney Joe Brandon Jr. continues to insist his clients see the case as a battle against the imposition of Sharia Law in Rutherford County.
“Sharia Law says their law trumps all other laws. That, basically, the United States Constitution is suitable for toilet paper. The fact that they will not go back through the process - that is Sharia Law. They didn’t give notice. If this had been me, you, anybody else, that was building something without a valid site plan, the government would have come down.”
Mosque spokesman Dr. Saleh Sbenaty responded by noting that thousands of building permits were issued by the county using the same public notice process.
“There are houses of worship and businesses and so many other institutions that applied using the same process, so picking on us only – based on our religion – that means discrimination. He needs to go back and read the Constitution, and the First Amendment in particular, to learn the basic things about our country.”
Sbenaty says continuing to pursue the case is a waste of tax payer’s money and calls this most recent appeal “sad.”