As ThinkProgress has previously reported, for months, conservatives have led a hateful campaign against the expansion of a local Islamic center and mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This campaign has been endorsed by high-ranking Republicans such as the state’s Lt. Governor, Ron Ramsey, who last month, wondered aloud whether Islam was a religion or a “cult.” The center was the target of an arson attack in August. Legal opponents of the Islamic center have even claimed that it has no constitutional rights because Islam is actually a seditious political movement, not a religion.
Now, a new poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University finds that the majority of Tennesseans reject this far-right, hateful campaign and side with the right of Muslims to build the mosque expansion. Additionally, the poll finds that most Tennesseans thinks Muslims should get all the same rights as any other Americans, and only 14 percent disagree with that notion. The poll also finds that two-thirds of Tennesseans are against racially profiling Muslims:
Sixty-seven percent of Tennesseans polled said Muslims deserve the same rights as any Americans and only 14 percent disagreed. And 66 percent said they either supported or did not object to the construction of a new Islamic center in Murfreesboro, while only 28 percent objected. [...]
Twenty-eight percent of Tennesseans surveyed thought Muslims in America heighten the risk of terrorist attack. Two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that it is wrong to profile people as potential terrorists solely on the basis of their Muslim beliefs.
“We’ve had a wonderful experience in Nashville. We’ve encountered nothing but goodness from our neighbors in Nashville and Middle Tennessee for the past 30 years,” Rashed Fakhruddin, director of education at the Islamic Center of Nashville, told The Tennessean.