TN Mosque Trial Continues: ‘Your Honor, This Is A Circus’

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A hearing about a proposed mosque in middle Tennessee resumed yesterday, with a lawyer for the mosque’s opponents claiming the mosque’s leaders wanted to fly the “flag of Sharia” over the White House.

The mosque opponents, three local residents, sued Rutherford County, claiming officials violated open meeting law when approving the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s site plan for an expanded mosque outside of Murfreesboro. The opponents want the court to stop construction.

The hearing began last month and resumed yesterday. According to The Tennessean, the heated rhetoric that has marked the hearing also resumed.

Joe Brandon Jr., the lawyer for the plaintiffs, continued his argument that Islam is not a religion and therefore a mosque is not entitled to religious land use zoning regulations.

Brandon argued that the Islamic Center is not entitled to religious land use rights because these are the same people who flew jets into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

The U.S. Justice Department earlier this week filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit, noting that Islam is a major world religion, and has been recognized in the U.S. as such since Thomas Jefferson.

Brandon, who called prominent neocon Frank Gaffney as an expert witness on the first day of hearings, also made the debunked arguments of those who say most American Muslims want to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, on the Untied States.

From The Tennessean:

Brandon went on at length to describe Shariah Law as giving Muslims instructions on beating their wives, sexually abusing children and seeking to fly the flag of Shariah over the White House.

County Attorney Jim Cope objected to Brandon’s numerous questions to county officials about the Islamic Center being committed to Shariah Law.

“They didn’t approve Shariah,” Cope said. “Your honor this is a circus is what this is.”

There is no flag of Sharia, but the idea that the Koran predicts that “the flag of Islam” will fly over the White House is an ongoing meme among right-wingers who fear a “stealth jihad.”

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