How to Build a Mosque in Tennessee


built that

Muslims in Murfeesboro, Tennessee have been trying to build a mosque for years. A structure is finally up, they wanted to be able to use it by the time Ramadan starts, at sundown today, but they won't be able to. What happened? The Muslims got a lesson in just how literally true it is that you need the government to build something on your own property in this country. The trouble started as soon as the plans became public, with opponents of the planned mosque showing up to a public hearing at the local county commission in June 2010. The Tennessean reported:

Plans for a new Islamic center south of Murfreesboro have some residents denouncing the Muslim religion and others calling the dispute one of the ugliest displays of religious intolerance in the county's history.

Questions of whether the public was given adequate notice about the proposed mosque and community center off Bradyville Pike quickly turned into attacks on the Muslim faith during the public comment portion of Thursday's Rutherford County Commission meeting.

The county commission couldn't do anything about it but not because the notion that they could is ridiculous. Back to The Tennessean:

The county's zoning resolution, approved in 1984, grants property owners a use by right to build religious institutions, houses and farms outside city limits.

That means the developer does not need to seek a zone change for the land and go through public hearings at the planning commission and the county commission. The developer of a religious institution only needs to seek site plan approval to ensure the project will adhere to rules for building setbacks, parking, landscaping and other requirements.

County Commissioner Mike Sparks said the Islamic Center is too big not to examine it in more detail. It may require a turn lane on Bradyville Pike.

"That will be a dangerous intersection, no doubt," Sparks said. "I feel like the planning commission dropped the ball. I never knew this was coming up.

Land of the free! Two years later, the building is up, but the government (of the people!) wasn't done yet. The Muslims needed an "occupancy certificate."  From The Tennessean last month:

A Murfreesboro judge has blocked local officials from issuing an occupancy certificate for a new mosque.

The move comes about two weeks after Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew ruled that construction approval for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was void. Corlew agreed with mosque opponents that there was not sufficient public notice of the meeting where construction had been approved two years earlier.

Yesterday, a federal court overruled the local judge. But even after the government's "let" you build something, you can't open it by yourself either. The Tennessean reports:

Rutherford County Building Codes Director David Jones said this morning inspection of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro's new mosque remains "preliminary."

It could take two weeks before the Veals Road mosque site is ready for final inspection, Jones told The DNJ, a day after a federal judge ordered the county to inspect the building in time for the Islamic religious holiday Ramadan, which starts today at sundown.
The ICM still has exterior work to do, including installation of septic facilities, and must obtain inspections and approval from entities such as the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the state fire marshal and Consolidated Utility District, as well as a final inspection by county building codes, according to Jones.

And then the government will have built a mosque in Tennessee. Freedom of religion? All rights have limits.

NEXT: Canadian Kinder Egg Contraband Confiscation Controversy, Continued

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    1. No welcome. That isn’t a “t” it’s a hate symbol banned from all government-owned property by the 1st Amendment.

    2. Oh, I read it as Noot Welcome. Assuming the painter was using the circle emblem in the sign as a second O.

      1. Wait, is that sign just some ham-handed and misspelled invitation to Newt Gingrich? Tennessee has sunk to new lows.

    3. Although the bigots are improving.

      I remember that often the refrain would be: “stipid niger”.

      1. They also ran out of purple spray paint half way through the W. Jeez, since the KKK got disbanded the quality of minority intimidation in this country has plummeted.

    4. WRONG. It says, “No it welcome” in the kind of broken English one says loudly and slowly to a foreigner – say, a Muslim, as in this case – to make them understand. It’s a nice gesture from supporters. In spray paint.

  1. “Future site of noot welcome.”?

  2. Good for the vigilant people of Tennessee for throwing up procedural hurdels in order to prevent al-qaida from gaining a foothold in our heartland.

  3. I have to say, I prefer my bigots illiterate. Makes for better lulz.

    1. Real bigots do tend to be illiterate, don’t they?

      1. Imagine the money to be made in spraypaint with spellcheck.

        1. That wouldn’t be fun. Back in the 1980s during the “Satanic Panic” I caused a multi-jurisdictional police investigation and made the TV news by spraypainting SATIN RULES and a pentagram on private property with the owner’s tenant’s permission. Fortunately for me she held up under heavy police questioning and blamed it on “unknown Satanic vandals”. T
          I thought he intentional misspelling added authenticity.

          1. “SATIN RULES” – OMG I snorted pop through my nose. That’s AWESOME!

            “It was a lingerie club. Men’s satin boxers, women’s slips…that sort of thing. Planning to take over the WORLD, they were!”

            Fuck, that’s funny.

            *begins plans for the future involving similar “incidents”…*

          2. What’s the problem? Satin does, in fact, rule.

          3. Shouldn’t that be “unknown Satinic vandals”?

            1. The deniability was that in her circle everyone knew how to spell “Satan” She was a Goth I knew in college back when the goth population didn’t much exceed the sales total of Bauhaus records.

      2. Not really. T o n y, for one, when I bother to read I’ve noticed he has impressive technical writing skills.

        1. It’s my thing, but I’m less of a bigot than most–just self-aware enough to admit to my prejudices. Unlike the chawing rednecks creeping around who pretend to be colorblind.

  4. Questions of whether the public was given adequate notice about the proposed mosque


    Why the fuck should they inform anybody? Who writes these fucktarded regulations?

    It’s incredible that you need approval to build shit on your own property. It really is.

    1. It’s incredible that you need approval to build shit on your own property. It really is.

      Even incredibler is that you have to pay for that permission.

      1. And the rules. Fucking hell, the rules.

        I want to build a garage at my house. My property is a corner lot, 150′ x 50′, with the address on the street that faces the 50′ side, and the front door facing the street on the 150′ side. I have a neighbor on the one side of me, and an alley to the rear.

        There’s physically space enough to build a 30′ x 40′ garage. But because of the zoning, and various required setbacks, I can either put the garage right up against the alley, and be forced to leave a 10′ gap between the house and the garage, or build the garage attached to the house, and be required to leave 15′ between the garage and the alley. The two possible floorplans obviously overlap in the middle.

        WTF? If the city doesn’t actually care about either requirement, why not let me just build the largest garage possible?

        Drives me fucking nuts.

  5. Look, I’m certainly a biased source for this claim, but about 90% of the shit Kentucky is made fun of for is actually happening in Tennessee. They gave us their cooties.

  6. Look, I’m certainly a biased source for this claim… but about 90% of the shit Kentucky is made fun of for is actually happening in Tennessee. They gave us their cooties.

    1. Damn you, 3pm!

    2. Having recently vacationed in both states, I can confirm this.

        1. YOUR LIFE IS A DAMNED LIE!!!1

          1. More of a danged exaggeration.

            1. Mine’s kind of a “Bit of a Misstatement”, so it’s all good.

              1. I’m working up to “embarrassing typo”, myself.

        2. Having grown up in Pulaski Co. Kentucky I can attest that it is absolutely true.

      1. Aren’t you Texan?

        1. Me? No. I’m mostly Floridian. My family is mostly from Tennessee, however.

        2. You know who else was a Texan….

          1. Audie Murphy?

          2. Sam Houston?

          3. Powers Booth?

          4. The guy who arrested Ozzy Osbourne for pissing in public on a barely noticeable landmark?

          5. Quanah Parker?

          6. A whole bunch of cattle?

  7. Well, they might have better luck and fewer hassles if they built a mosque at the Sainted teh Ground Zero? in New Yawk, amirite?


    1. Yeah, only people from Tennessee and the south are allowed to be bigoted rednecks.

      Kentucky is included of course.

      1. West Virginia, South Ohio, Western North Carolina, South West Penn, Appalachian New York, who are we kidding, it all the same culture.

        1. *dueling banjos*

        2. Scots-Irish pagans not made effeminate through papacy.

          1. Like mad Picts chucking spears and hootenannying their kin sisters up in those hills.

            1. My brother had a “Pictish Free State” t-shirt that was awesome. He wanted to start a band called “Modern Druids” – “Our first album will be called ‘Cult of the Severed Head’….First, I gotta learn how to play guitar…”

              1. Pictish Free State, I love that!

              2. “Pictish Free State” is the single most awesome thing I’ve read in awhile.

  8. “Plans for a new Islamic center south of Murfreesboro have some residents denouncing the Muslim religion and others calling the dispute one of the ugliest displays of religious intolerance in the county’s history.”

    Free speech, on both sides. Fine with me. Religions don’t get any special treatment in my book.

    The zoning stuff is a whole different matter. This goes for everyone, too, though. If it’s a gay and lesbian community center, a boy scout facility, or whatever, the misuse of zoning and traffic concerns to cover for the suppression of controversial political/religious/personal positions is wrong.

    1. And of course, vandalism of a sign on private property is bullshit, as well — although there are some sign-enhancement activities that I admit I condone.

      1. “That sign’s an offensive WEAPON, it is…”

    2. If it’s a gay and lesbian community center, a boy scout facility…


  9. If there were no government, no federal government in particular, the mosque would never open, because “the people” would tear it down. This is, in fact, testimony to the need for government, the federal government in particular, rather than the reverse.

    1. That’s stupid. If there were no government, then there would be nothing stopping the owners/occupants of the mosque from opening fire on anyone who approached.

      1. That’s right! We don’t need no government or courts or rule of law. We got guns! Yeehaaaaw!

        1. Reading comprehension fail. The point is that the post was stupid, because it assumes that anarchy is a one-way street. It’s not. That’s why we consider the rule of law to be superior to 24/7 conflict.

    2. This is very true. It’s impossible to protect a piece of land from vandals without the federal government to do it for you.

      1. And if they approach, bend over and suck their cocks, because only the government can respond with force.

        God Save the State.

    3. If there were no government, no federal government in particular, the mosque would never open, because “the people” would tear it down.

      Oh Jesus, this canard. This tired notion that the entire country is teetering on the edge of racism but for the federal government. That no community, group, what have you, can find its way through racism without the federal government.

      I ask you, Mr. Vanneman, how did the pristine, un-racist federal government come to be with such a population of 360 million, feral, racist idiots within the states?

      Or are dead, slave-owning white men now to take their place back on the liberal pedestal of ‘great men’?

      1. AV once took a stroll a few blocks out of Georgetown. Saw a church with a lively revival with singing going on. It was very scary for him. He wanted to turn back but bravely sauntered forth like his hero in The Adventures of Augie March would. Soon, he smelt something foreign to his nose. He cautiously crept forth to see where it could be coming from. A man was grilling the ribs of a pig out in the open in his back yard! Alan had heard about this ritual the feast of the Ku Klux Klansman his kin called it, but was still shocked to see it with his own eyes.

        He turned around and hurried back to his enclave where the regulations don’t allow such barbarism to occur.

    4. Exactly. We need government to enforce property rights so that “the people” can’t tear down Mosques that “the people” don’t own.

      We don’t need it to license building a Mosque on your own fucking land, though.

    5. Murfreesboro is a stinkin’ progressive liberal college town. They would welcome the mosque but unincorporated Rutherford County actually has friendlier zoning rules.

      1. I always thought of Murfreesboro as your typical white-bread SUV suburbia. I’m sure people reading this think it’s some kind of backwoods hillbilly stronghold, but nothing could be further from the truth.

        1. Well, Carolinian here. I know you T-staters well, and quite the contrary, I just assume the entire state will go steampunk some day, and the controversy is just a practical consideration that there is no place in that milieu for Allah.

      2. So they would welcome the mosque, except that they don’t welcome buildings in general.

    6. This mosque is only happening because of the Federal government. It was the Feds, not the people of Middle Tennessee, who imported hordes of 3rd world savages into the area. Somalis and Iraqis belong in Somalia and Iraq, not America.

      1. You sound near extinction. As Nietzsche put it, ‘Up with hybrid vigor, down with offing the niggers!’

        I’m sure it somewhere in one his later works like N Contra Wagner.

      2. First, County Commissioner Mike Sparks opposed the mosque because ROADZ, now Chris Mallory opposes it because SOMALIA! Drink Twice.


  11. public hearing? so were they by right or not?

  12. I hate running out of purple spraypaint.

  13. some good crazy in that article:

    “Islam is a system of government. Islam is a system of justice. We’ve got people here who remember Sept. 11, 2001. These people are scared.

    “I’m afraid we’ll have a training facility in Rutherford County.”

    “They are now on the third jihad,” speaker Bob Hayes said. “It’s an ideology. It’s not a religion.”

    Roy Grady brought up 9/11.

    “That day America changed,” he said. “There’s a lot of Christian believers in this room. We need to understand the threat.

    “America is a target for jihad. Our country established that Jesus Christ is our savior.”

    1. Shockingly enough, some people don’t believe in cultural relativism.

      Personally, I see what’s happening and the Middle East, then I see what’s happening here (can’t go shopping without seeing women in Burkhas) and it scares the hell out of me.

      1. Oddly enough, your fears do not get to dictate the rights of others. Quaint idea, this libertarianism thing.

  14. I see that the Becket Fund, which is also the lead group suing to overturn the contraceptive mandate, supported the mosque here.

    They’re pretty good about supporting all religious groups, including minorities.

    1. That’s very interesting, but the narrative in this story only has room for one group of conservative Christians, and the anti-mosque people in Tennessee already filled that role.

      Think of the unfortunate progressives whose minds would be blown if the headline said “Christian conservatives defend rights of mosque.”

  15. I have to say, I wouldn’t want that place near my home either. Have you ever heard the Muslim call to prayer? Sounds like retards singing opera.

    1. Dude, they don’t have freaking muezzin at every mosque in America… in fact, living near the biggest one on the east coat for a while, never heard it once. Shit, I’m not sure they even have them everywhere in predominantly muslim countries.

      You’re better off just saying you think they smell funny. Its classier.

      1. Dude, they don’t have freaking muezzin at every mosque in America…

        Good to know.

        Shit, I’m not sure they even have them everywhere in predominantly muslim countries.

        Everywhere I’ve been. And depending on the country, that shit can start at like 4:30am.

      2. You’re better off just saying you think they smell funny. Its classier.

        How would a religion affect their smell?

  16. My grafitti would have said “It’s MOOPS!”

  17. What of the the precedent for money laundered through U.S. mosques to terrorist groups? Purple spray paint probably isn’t the most cogent form of opposition. Alternatively, it’d be simple to ask how the mosque’s leaders intend to mitigate concern about the misappropriation of donations.

  18. Sounds totally rad to me dude, I say do it man.


  19. I went to college in TN, and had a buddy from Murfreesboro. He told me he thought Nashville had gone, “all liberal yankee and shit”. He kept telling me, “man, just you drive out 10 miles from here and you’ll see REAL america”

    So another guy and I did. We stopped at a gas station near murfreesboro that had a sign over the door, “This business run by White Christians”. Being a white yankee catholic I paid little heed. I shouldn’t have. My buddy went in to pay and didn’t come out. He was dark-skinned sicilian. I went looking for him, and found him surrounded by bubbas. I go, “What’s going on?” and one of the bubbas asked, “What in the hell IS he?” I didn’t get it. “I told them, I’m sicilian!” my buddy says. Bubba says, “Look like a goddam mexican fucked a chinese” This was actually kinda true. I managed to temporarily defuse the situation by confusing them with a narrative about mediterranean geography and the longstanding Christendom of the sicilian people . I suspect the Mooslims are actually getting off kinda easy, what with how the region has progressed so much in the ensuing decade + 1/2.

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