Judge Voids Mosque Approval, Doesn't Stop Building
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/NewsChannel 5) - Opponents of a mosque being built in Tennessee have gotten a judge to nullify the government decision that approved it, but they lost their bid to stop construction immediately.
Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew stated in an order released Friday in the Nashville suburb of Murfreesboro that the approval is void because it was taken in violation of the Tennessee's Open Meetings Act. He ruled earlier this week that the county didn't give the public adequate notice of what has become a contentious issue.
The order prohibits further meetings on the mosque without proper notice.
But the decision also said that if the mosque opponents want to halt construction, they must begin a new court action.
The construction has been ongoing during the year-and-a-half the court case has dragged on.
Plaintiffs' attorneys had filed an order that included an injunction to that effect. The order does not become final until signed by the judge, which could take up to 30 days.
County Attorney Jim Cope said Thursday he would contest the order because he does not believe it accurately reflects the judge's ruling. Cope had said he believes plaintiffs need to sue the mosque if they want to halt construction.
The mosque is less than six weeks from completion, and Islamic leaders said construction will continue until they're told to stop.