In a fight that was never really about paperwork, permits, and inspections, a federal judge has ruled that Muslims in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, should be allowed to worship at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro and could possible celebrate Ramadan there tonight. Muslims in Murfreesboro have been trying for months to get a permit to use their new mosque, only to see their efforts blocked and tied up in legal battles which reeked of anti-Muslim sentiment. So the mosque's leaders and the Justice Department filed separate lawsuits this week, and finally got results. "Judge Todd J. Campbell of Federal District Court in Nashville issued a temporary restraining order, which means that the congregation could be given permits by the time Ramadan begins at sundown on Thursday," reports The New York Times' Kim Severson. Campbell's ruling overturns a ruling by a county judge that blocked a planning commission's approval of the Islamic Center, because of what he said was "insufficient public notice," which was the only legal ruling that the mosque's anti-Muslim opponents got to stick. For the past two years, the 12,000-square-foot mosque and its construction site have been vandalized multiple times, set on fire 2010, was even at the receiving end of bomb threat last year, and when it wasn't being attacked by bigots, the mosque and its worshippers were the subject of bigoted legal challenges. CNN reports that some residents filed a lawsuit in 2010 which sought to block the mosque because it posed a "risk of terrorism generated by proselytizing for Islam and inciting the practices of Sharia law" while another demanded a judge block approval until the Islamic center showed it wasn't planning "the overthrow of the American system of government, laws, and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution." The weak public notice lawsuit was the only one that succeeded and with that gone, all the mosque needs is an inspection and, as CNN reports, Judge Campbell ordered county officials to "promptly re-inspect the building." "We look forward to celebrating Ramadan with our neighbors," Imam Ossama Bahloul said in CNN's report.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.