Interfaith Coalition Welcomes Dismissal of Claims Seeking to Block Tennessee Mosque

New York, NY, May 23, 2011 … The Interfaith Coalition on Mosques (ICOM) welcomed the decision of a Murfreesboro, Tenn., court to dismiss many of the claims seeking to block construction of a mosque in that community.

The Interfaith Coalition issued the following statement:

We welcome this affirmation of the twin American principles of equal justice before the law and the right of all citizens to practice their religions freely and without interference based on bias or bigotry. This case appeared at times to turn into a forum for the airing of anti-Muslim bigotry, and we welcome the court's outright and forceful rejection of that effort.

The decision to allow claims to proceed under Tennessee's open meetings act is disappointing but does not detract from the importance of the ruling. If the plaintiffs ultimately prevail on this count, we presume that the permission, already once granted, to build the mosque, will be granted again.

The Anti-Defamation League previously filed an amicus brief (PDF) on behalf of ICOM arguing that the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act protected the right of the mosque's builders to move forward with their plans.

The Interfaith Coalition on Mosques was formed in 2010 to assist Muslim communities confronting opposition to the legal building, expansion or relocation of their mosques. It is comprised of prominent individuals and organizations from different faith traditions – Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Muslim and Jewish.

The case is Estes v. Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission.

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