Judge's ruling stops construction of Tenn. mosque
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Construction of a Tennessee mosque that has been strongly opposed by critics of Islam likely will be stopped after a judge ruled Tuesday that local officials didn't give the public adequate notice before the meeting where it was approved.
The mosque was one of several Muslim projects in the U.S. that hit a swell of conservative opposition around the same time as the controversy over a plan to build a Muslim community center near New York's ground zero.
Chancellor Robert Corlew found that the Rutherford County Planning Commission didn't do enough to inform the public of the May 2010 meeting when it approved the site plan for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
Though his ruling voids the approval, he noted there was nothing stopping the commission from reconsidering the issue and voting on the mosque site plan again, as long as any action they take is for "non-discriminatory reasons."
Saleh Sbenaty, a spokesman for the mosque, said the ruling was disappointing but his group remained committed to building the Islamic center. They have been worshipping for many years at a smaller site in Murfreesboro, a booming city of about 100,000 people southeast of Nashville.
Lead plaintiff Kevin Fisher wrote in an email, "Justice is served." (...)