The long-running battle between a Tennessee Muslim community and its critics over a new mosque took a dramatic turn with a county judge's ruling that could bring construction to a halt.
"Everyone is really shocked, many people are crying about this," Imam Osama Bahloul, leader of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said early Wednesday.
"We did exactly what other churches in the county did," he said. "We followed the same process that other churches did. Why did this happen? Some people feel like it is discrimination."
The judge, Chancellor Robert Corlew, ruled Tuesday that plans for the new mosque that had previously been approved by a local planning commission were now "void and of no effect."
He said the planning commission violated state law by not providing proper public notice. The ruling throws the date of the mosque's completion, scheduled for July, up in the air.
Rutherford County Attorney Jim Cope said Corlew did not address the issue of whether work on the mosque has to stop right away. He said county planners will discuss options and determine an appropriate course of action.
"I don't have answers at this point," Cope said.
Bahloul said construction will go on until the Islamic Center receives orders to stop.FULL STORY