Man, the wingnuts in Tennessee simply won’t give up. They’ve spent the last few years doing everything they can to prevent a Muslim community that has been in the area for decades from building a larger mosque to accommodate their numbers and now they’ve filed yet another lawsuit over the designation of part of their property as a cemetery.
Plaintiffs opposed to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro graveyard approval seek a court order “to halt the construction and improvement of the cemetery.”…
ICM board member Saleh Sbenaty questions a new group of plaintiffs seeking to stop his congregation from having a cemetery.
“The county has already wasted $343,000 on this previous lawsuit, which is basically chasing ghosts,” said Sbenaty, a 21-year engineering technology professor at MTSU who grew up in Syria and became an American citizen after moving to Middle Tennessee to pursue his education and career 32 years ago. “This is another lawsuit, which is following its predecessor. It’s witch hunting. It’s going to cost our taxpayers additional money that would be taken away from education, our law enforcement and other needed items for our county.”
The plaintiffs in the ICM graveyard case are challenging the Rutherford County Board of Zoning Appeals decision to approve the cemetery without caskets and burial vaults in a 3-2 vote in January. They contend that the BZA should not have taken action while the other plaintiffs are still hoping to appeal the case to the nation’s top court.
The irony, of course, is that these are the same kind of people who demanded the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which hundreds of Christian churches have used to get out of zoning laws (and lots of other laws) that cover everyone else. They love those religious exemptions as long as only Christians are using them. But this isn’t even an exemption, the zoning board approved this use and it is in compliance with zoning regulations. So Christians get to break the law and Muslims must be stopped even when they’re within the law. This is a great example of both Christian privilege and Islamophobia.