Opponents Try To Link Mosque Members To Terrorists
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The court hearing about the Murfreesboro mosque is supposed to be about opponents' claims the public wasn't given enough notice about the building plans.
Testimony in a Rutherford County courtroom has gone far beyond that from building plans, to MySpace pages, burial grounds, and terrorist groups.
During Friday's testimony, it focused very little about the actual Islamic center's site plans. Instead, opponents again spent the day trying to link mosque members to terrorist groups using a MySpace page.
"Do you know that Islamic center of Nashville has actually home grown terrorists out of their facility?" asked plaintiffs' attorney Joe Brandon.
"Your honor, objection. Again there is no evidence in the record of that. It's hypothetical. I guess you can got ahead and answer it, but we're just shooting bullets and hoping they land somewhere," responded county attorney Jim Cope.
Links on the page showed pro-Palestine images, and pictures of weapons but do not directly link the center to terrorists.
County attorney Jim Cope flipped the script on mosque opponents and asked them what they would do if their church in the same position.
"If we were expanding it, I think there's plenty of information on our church. It's been here, it's established, the members are well known, they speak English," said opponent Liz Coker.
Opponents also said Islamic center members were deceitful in burying a body on the new site.
The county's attorneys objected dozens of times throughout the day, saying most of the testimony had nothing to do with the issue at hand. That didn't stop witnesses from voicing their opinion.
"This organization is misleading our county commissioners and presenting themselves as a peace-loving organization, and in actuality, some of their leadership is radical," added Coker.
"What if he went and told them that? Would he then say ‘I'm not gonna grant him a building permit because I don't like what they believe?' Is that what you want him to do?" retorted Cope.
Mosque opponents said law enforcement and county officials should have investigated Islamic center members before allowing the site to be built.
However, the center already has a mosque here, and they've been open for more than a dozen years. They are building because they've outgrown their old facility.
Friday was the final day of testimony until mid-November.