Yesterday, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief stating its conviction that Islam is indeed a religion, contra the plaintiffs in the ongoing lawsuit over the construction of a new Islamic center and mosque in Murfreesboro, TN, reported Talking Points Memo:

In the brief, the DOJ declares that Islam is a religion and is entitled to freedom of expression.

In a press release, the U.S. attorney for the middle district of Tennessee, Jerry E. Martin, acknowledged that the lawsuit is a “local matter,” but that the DOJ wants to “vigorously support” the decision of local authorities to grant the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro building permits.

The center, which has been operating in Murfreesboro for decades, has outgrown its current facility and is building a larger community center and mosque just outside the city. In addition to the legal opposition, the mosque has faced vandalism and arson, and the head of the DOJ Civil Rights Division recently visited area Muslims as a gesture of support.

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