A Tennessee judge has upheld his earlier decision allowing the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to build a new mosque and community center. The Tennessean reports:
“Those who are adherents to Islam are entitled to pursue their worship in the United States just as are those who are adherents to more universally established faiths (in our community),” ruled Chancellor Robert Corlew III.
Opponents of the mosque had asked Corlew to reconsider the decision he made in May, which was that the 17 plaintiffs suing Rutherford County government can only challenge whether an open meeting violation occurred over the mosque’s approval.
The mosque’s opponents had also sought to put in question Islam’s status as a religion, prompting the Justice Department to file an amicus brief last October, affirming that “under the United States Constitution and other federal laws, it is uncontroverted that Islam is a religion, and a mosque is a place of religious assembly.”
According to The Tennessean, Corlew’s latest ruling reiterates that Islam is a religion, but the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Joe Brandon, Jr., said he was not convinced:
“Chancellor Corlew seems to go on and on that it’s been decided that Islam is a religion, and we take issue with that,” Brandon said. “There’s no proof in this case that Islam is a religion. There is no case law or code that Islam is a religion.”