5:27am

Thu July 19, 2012
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Spokesman Says Mosque Likely Not Ready for Start of Ramadan

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A spokesman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro now says congregants likely will not get to celebrate the beginning of Ramadan in their new mosque.

The Center’s leadership filed a lawsuit in federal court in Nashville yesterday, asking that a chancery court order denying them occupancy of the new building be lifted immediately.  That order was granted yesterday evening.

However, Dr. Saleh Sbenaty says construction isn’t quite complete. The contractor hopes to be ready to ask Rutherford County for a final inspection in the next few days. He says they don’t even have tables and chairs for the new building yet.

Sbenaty hopes they’ll be in the facility within a week.

With the Holy Month of Ramdan beginning this evening at sundown, Sbenaty says the congregation will have to meet at its present, rented facility in Murfreesboro, He says some Ramadan community meals will likely be held in area parks to accommodate the large crowds anticipated.

Dr. Sbenaty says the local Muslim community is just grateful things appear to be moving forward once again.

“We were hoping to celebrate the beginning of Ramadan in the new facility. But we’re also excited just because of the notion that we’re going to have the new facility during the month of Ramadan, and be able to celebrate the end of Ramadan, which is one of the holiest days in the whole Islamic year -- to celebrate that in the new facility along with our friends and supporters.”

Sbenaty says the Muslim community is grateful for the support of the Department of Justice, which filed its own lawsuit in support of the Islamic Center yesterday.