The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee officially opened today after a long legal battle with local residents who filed a lawsuit to prevent the mosque from being built. Residents claimed that Islam is not a religion but a “seditious cult” and that the Islamic center was set on imposing Sharia law. After a state judge shut down construction, a federal judge last month granted a request for an emergency order that would allow the center to open.
The Islamic center held its first prayer service today (photo courtesy of the Tennessean):
Aside from the legal battles, mosque officials also had to endure, as one local reporter put it, “vandalism, some racist comments and even a number of bomb threats.”
But the Islamophobic backlash failed to deter the local Muslim community and its allies. “There is no conflict in being a good Muslim and being a good American. There is no conflict being a good Jew and a good American. There is no conflict in being a good Christian and a good American,” said mosque Imam Ossama Bahloul, “Let this building be a sign of that.”
Reporter Bob Smietana said that between 400 and 500 were in attendance. “The new place is packed,” he said according to a live blog at the Tennesseean.
“Some people said this is something you can no do as a community. Well we did it,” Ossama Bahloul said.