New York, NY, July 19, 2012 … The Interfaith Coalition on Mosques (ICOM) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed a ruling by a federal judge in Tennessee ordering a local county to conduct a final inspection so that a new mosque can open in time for the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell effectively set aside an earlier ruling by a county judge in June, who overturned the approval of the mosque's construction in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The ruling came after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit and a request for a temporary restraining order to compel Rutherford County to give the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro a certificate of occupancy.
ICOM, an interfaith coalition formed by ADL to assist Muslim communities confronting opposition to the legal building, expansion or relocation of their mosques, today welcomed the decision and praised the Justice Department's swift intervention.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement on behalf of ICOM:
"This is a significant victory for religious freedom in America. We applaud the Department of Justice and the court's quick intervention on behalf of this congregation, which will allow use of its new mosque for the holy month of Ramadan. We are optimistic that though its lawsuit, the Justice Department will obtain a permanent order allowing the congregation to use its mosque without further interference."
In 2010, local citizens filed a lawsuit in State Chancery Court seeking to block construction of the mosque. At the time, ICOM filed a friend of the court brief on its behalf. After a hearing permeated with anti-Muslim bias, the judge in 2011 dismissed most of the claims, but barred Rutherford County from issuing the mosque an occupancy certificate.
The Justice Department lawsuit alleges that denial of the certificate violates the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. ADL successfully lobbied for this law 2000.