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TN Mosque Opponents Bring In National Sharia 'Expert' Frank Gaffney

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Gaffney argued that Sharia -- that is, a system of laws defined by the Koran -- is a threat to the Constitution, and most mosque leaders preach Sharia. It's a common argument among necons and mosque opponents.

"I see several things that are a red flag from a security standpoint," he said, according to the Daily News Journal. "They have engaged in activities that should be worrisome to this community."

The "phenomena" of radical imams preaching a Sharia takeover of the Constitution "is present in communities like this," he said.

The plaintiffs argued that the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro would pose a similar threat.

"Why would we give any religion the right to cancel our rights under the United States Constitution," their attorney, Joe Brandon Jr., said, according to the Murfreesboro Post. "If the Planning Commission had approved this for Osama bin Laden, would they still feel there should be no public hearing?"

"Shariah law is jihad," Brandon said. "We believe there is a direct connection to the ICM (Islamic Center of Murfreesboro). Sharia says the U.S. Constitution is suitable for toilet paper."

Gaffney admitted, however, that he is no expert.

"I don't hold myself out as an expert on Sharia Law," he said. "But I have talked a lot about that as a threat."

After the hearing, he told local reporters that President Obama's counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan is violating U.S. law.

"If you know sedition is going on and don't do anything about it, that's a felony offense under the U.S. statute," he said, attributing the violation to a scourge of political correctness. "I call it submission."

Also at the hearing, a young woman who is a member of the Islamic center and wears a headscarf says she was removed from the courtroom by sheriff's deputies and questioned. She said they wanted to see if she was hiding weapons under the scarf. The sheriff's department did not immediately return calls for comment.

The hearing was also attended by two former chairmen of the local GOP, one of whom said he donated money to the plaintiff's legal defense fund.

The controversy is over the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, a mosque and community center that's been in the area for several years and is now building a larger community center, which will include a mosque, classrooms and recreational space, outside the city.

The three suing the county allege that officials failed to notify the public about the planning meeting at which the construction plan was approved. In fact, the county did put out a public notice about the meeting -- but did not include the agenda. County officials argue that the notice was in compliance with open meeting laws.

There were several other public hearings on the mosque site, where opponents loudly voiced their objections.

The construction site is also the subject of an arson and potential hate crime investigation, after construction equipment was set on fire in the middle of the night. The sign announcing the project has also been vandalized.

Hearings were scheduled to continue today.