10:01am

Fri April 20, 2012
Judge Excludes Anti-Islam Testimony

Murfreesboro Mosque Case Headed Back to Court

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A lawsuit that seeks to void the approval for a Rutherford County mosque will go to trial next week in Murfreesboro.

On Thursday, Chancellor Robert Corlew denied a defense motion to dismiss claims of inadequate public notice for the meeting where the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was approved.

Even though the trial will now go forward, mosque spokesman Saleh Sbenaty says his congregation feels confident about the eventual outcome.

“We always believed that truth and justice prevail in this country," Sbenaty said. "We applied just like everybody else according to the law and we got that approval like anybody else according to the law.”

Plaintiff’s attorney Joe Brandon Jr.  says he thinks the evidence in the case is compelling.

“The county commissioner for the district did not even know that this was being proposed," Brandon said. "This was the first time in over a thousand postings by Rutherford County giving notice that it did not appear on the Rutherford county website.”

Other evidence Brandon had hoped to present in court will not be heard. During last week’s hearing, Judge Corlew excluded witnesses he hoped to have testify to the plaintiff’s contention that Muslims are a threat to their fellow citizens.

The new mosque is already under construction and is set to open this summer.