In May 2010 area zoning commissioners approved the building of a 52,960 square foot Mosque/recreation center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Construction for the mosque began in late 2011 and efforts have been met with unabashed threats of violence, intentional property damage, arson, and other acts of domestic terrorism. Recently, nearing completion, public opinion arose and judicial injunctions have brought construction to a screeching halt.
Last month, at a meeting open to the public, resident Tracey Steven added to the discord by saying, "Our country was founded through the founding fathers through the true God, the Father and Jesus Christ." Joining her in her most noble of plights, resident Stan Whiteway added, “They (people of Islam) seem to be against everything I believe in, and so I don't want them necessarily in my neighborhood.” A self-proclaimed religious investigator for the Murfreesboro metropolitan area and Pastor at the World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Allen Jackson also stated, "We have a duty to investigate anyone under the banner of Islam.” The nazistic and narrow-minded beliefs expressed by the residents of the area where the Mosque is to be built breed ignorance and fuel the preconceived notion that all Muslims are terrorists.
Hard pressed by Tennessee Attorney Joe Brandon, appointed court official Chancellor Robert Corlew revoked the Mosque's building permit. In a pathetic attempt to add validity to his ruling, Corlew delivered this statement, “plans for the new Mosque, previously approved by a local planning commission, are now 'void and of no effect.'" Corlew claimed the planning commission violated the law by not providing the community with sufficient public notices, as mandated by law. However, when confronted with newspaper printed evidence to the contrary, Corlew went on to say the notification in the newspaper was “in relatively small type near the bottom of the page." For Tennessee Attorney Joe Brandon, the satisfaction of an impressive law degree and the most handsome of hairlines pales in comparison to the contentment afforded to him by Corlew's ruling. Brandon went on record saying, "The ruling was a victory for all the county's residents." It is evident Chancellor Robert Corlew, Tennessee Attorney Joe Brandon, and the cowards who hide behind the judicial skirt tail are among those who have either succumbed to threats of domestic terrorism and or are among those political powerhouses simply operating to further some political agenda.
In addition to the legitimacy of the building permit, Judge Corlew has declared that occupancy for the Mosque is also an issue. In yet another attempt to mollify the bigots who so heavily oppose the Mosque, Corlew has decided a case for the building's occupancy should be decided upon. He has ordered the county not to grant a certificate for occupancy until after a final decision is made on July 2nd. In closing he added these measures were necessary because the Mosque was "controversial." The Rutherford County Commissions office has voted to appeal Corlew's ruling. The cost of such an appeal can range anywhere from $15,000 to 25,000. The decisions to disallow and renege on the building's permits outline the plethora of intolerance that brews just beneath the surface of this outwardly diverse and tolerant nation's judicial system. These court appearances and series of appeals and hearings are nothing more than judicial "nit-picking." Making matters worse, those contributing to the mayhem are those sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution and all it encompasses. A center for worship is useless if people cannot worship in it. Change and growth within a developed and civilized society should be revered. Instead it is shunned and out casted, while those in opposition use the judicial system to condone and enforce religious oppression. As a result, an entire group of people are forced to fight, petition, and sue for rights protected by and guaranteed under Constitutional decree.
Public opinion should have zero standing in matters of private building plans when any such building presents no foreseeable reasonable risk to the community. However, public opinion seems to have weighed heavily in these decisions. Tennessee Attorney Joe Brandon, in collusion with his judicial drudge, seems to think he can use some false technicality, conveniently but not previously given merit to, as absolution for these miscarriages of justice and the continued violation of Civil Liberties. In a derisory attempt at justification, Chancellor Corlew and Tennessee Attorney Joe Brandon can masquerade beneath the façade of clerical or new-found error in the permits' approval or issuance, but with little success. The people of the Islamic faith and locals of the Murfreesboro community will not be dissuaded from the blatantly obvious prejudices unfolding before them at the cost of something they have worked so hard for.
Based upon pronounced underlying determinants, Corlew's rulings push this country one step closer toward a communistic governing body. A refusal to render or the decision formally to retract any previously approved permit(s) for any prospective religiously affiliated center or building, based solely upon a public opinion born of ignorance and fear, is not only unconstitutional but also heartless and inhumane. When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution they did so with the belief that freedoms of religion and speech, along with the right to assemble, were liberties to be granted to every citizen, not just those considered "desirable." The bigots who claim to love this country and fear for its well-being are ones from whom it should be protected. Undermining the Constitution and allowing these violations of civil liberties will pose a greater threat to this nation than any Islamic Center ever could. This country was founded on the backs of immigrants from many walks of life, all of whom differed in political and religious preferences and affiliations. Still, it has evolved into the strongest nation on the planet. Help this nation and sign this petition asking Chancellor Corlew to reconsider his position and remove the appearance of judicial impropriety. Ask the courts to grant the Mosque the same unalienable rights it would unquestionably grant a Baptist Church or a Buddhist Temple. Ask Corlew to permit this place of worship to be used and occupied as such and to allow the building of the Mosque to continue, unimpeded.
Sign this petition and help send a message stating no longer is the outdated ideology, one professing that the “American way of life” is a lifestyle rooted ONLY in Christian faith, the opinion of this religiously neutral and diverse nation. Stand with us to protect the candor of the United States’ Constitution and give way to the truth it holds self-evident, FREEDOM!
Pamela Coleman started this petition with a single signature, and won with 665 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.