Tenn. Mosque Gets Temporary OK to Open Despite Controversy

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM) has been granted a temporary certificate of occupancy, allowing it to move to a new and larger building. The state fire marshal’s office granted the certificate, valid for 30 days, after a walk-through codes inspection.

ICM chairman Essam Fathy said that the center will begin holding Friday congregational services at the new location and will begin moving in during Ramadan.

The certificate of approval comes after two years of fierce controversy, both locally and nationally.

The Rutherford County congregation, despite a having a long and non-eventful presence in the community, was inundated with accusation by residents fearful of “Muslim conspiracy.”

In addition to stormy protests at local civic meetings, ICM suffered arson and vandalism at its construction site.

A federal judge ruled in July that the county could not delay the approval process.

The only current protest is by a Baptist church having a row of white crosses on its lawn, saying they are meant as evangelism towards Muslims.