October 19th, 2010
10:06 AM ET

DOJ supports controversial Tennessee mosque

The Department of Justice has filed a brief supporting construction of a mosque in Tennessee that has been burned down and vandalized. The DOJ writes that Islam is a religion and is entitled to freedom of expression. Jerry Martin, the U.S. attorney for the middle district of Tennessee, said that while the construction of the mosque is a "local matter" the department wishes to "vigorously support" granting the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro building permits. READ MORE ABOUT THE MOSQUE

CNN spoke with Camie Ayash whose husband wants to build the mosque to serve a growing population of Muslims in the mid-size city. The Islamic Center has been operating in Murfreesboro for decades but had outgrown its current building, she said. 

When construction on the new building began, vandals spraypainted "Not Welcome" on the site and set fire to construction materials.

Ayash, who has a young child and another on the way, said she has received threats on the phone and through the mail. "They don't think Islam is a religion, or they think it's a religion based on violence," she said. "We are struggling to understand this, first because that's absurd, and second, because we've lived happily in this town for years." WATCH CAMIE AYASH TALK TO ANDERSON COOPER

Some opponents of the mosque have said its construction would create a traffic problem.

The head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division recently visited with area Muslims as a gesture of support.

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Filed under: Tennessee
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. RobertAllen

    Does Jewish law overturn city, state or constutional law? Some of these Murfreesboro citizens are showing themselves to be Tennessee hicks inbred to the point of imbecility. Bush killed 308 times the number of people in the past ten years than Muslim Extremists did and he claimed to be mainline Methodist. Bush won't travel to Sweden or Spain because they are going to arrest him and try him in the International Court for War Crimes. So, who is the radical extremist in this situation.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nashami

    Ignorance is the main culprit for this. These people are simply ignorant of the three main religions that originated from one region in the Middle East. How can anybody say that Islam is not a religion when this religion in fact includes Judaism and christianity in their teachings. If only people have the courage to read the Quran and know that this religion is related to the other two. Some even asked if God is the same as Allah. Of course God is Allah and Allah is God because the word Allah is an Arabic word literally means God in English. It' just like Dios (Spanish) is God or God is Dios. Muslims were taught to use Allah to make the name calling universal as not to change it from an Arabic word used in The Quran. This is one of the causes of misconceptions of Islam by other faiths in relations to Jesus Christ who considered by Christians as God and Yahweh by the Jews. Other religions misconstrued Allah as a person like Jesus whom you can see , draw, curved, or filmed. Whether you call God as Dios, Allah, or in any language of your own, God is invisible. Because the English translation of God in Arabic is Allah, Christian Arabs use this word even in their Sunday worship of Jesus Christ in Arab Countries. Lastly, I wish that people in the world who believe in the existence of God will be able to worship God, just God without using any other name, in that way we can be sure that the God you are believing is the same as mine.-–universally

    April 3, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
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