Attorney files order for work to stop at Murfreesboro mosque - WSMV Channel 4

Attorney files order for work to stop at Murfreesboro mosque

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

A judge's ruling this week apparently wasn't enough to stop the new Islamic center from being built in Murfreesboro.

The fight entered a new phase Wednesday afternoon, when attorney Joe Brandon lodged an order at Rutherford County Chancery Court asking that construction at the mosque be stopped completely.

"The court's ruled. It said all permits are void," Brandon said. "It's kind of like fruit of the poisonous tree, if you compare this to a criminal case. If you got a bad stop, everything that comes past that stop is void and of no effect. It's the same situation here."

Brandon said he is wondering what has taken so long for a stop-work order to be issued, in light of Tuesday's ruling by Chancellor Robert Corlew III.

Corlew stated the decision made at the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission's May 24, 2010 meeting is void because of insufficient public notice.

"The very first hurdle was not cleared. They didn't give the citizens notice. Everything past that is void," Brandon said. "The county attorney needs to man up and tell them to stop."

Meanwhile, construction at the mosque site on Veals Road continued Wednesday.

"It's just like a bad dream we're living through," said mosque member Saleh Sbenaty.

Leaders with the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro said they are still trying make sense of it all.

"We really don't know the implications of the ruling that the judge came with. We're still in contact with our legal counsel. We're trying to find out what the implication of this ruling is. We're going to see what the next step is going to be," Sbenaty said.

The next step may have to be for the ICM to re-submit its site plan application, but Sbenaty said he is not sure.

"If there is a need, if this is a must, then we are going ahead and do it," he said. "If there is no need, we may not need that after all."

ICM leaders said they haven't been contacted by the county attorney nor the planning director about the judge's ruling. They said they will continue with construction until they are told otherwise.

Brandon said he is just hoping Corlew accepts this new order asking for the injunction to cease construction of the mosque that is quickly nearing completion.

"They are going to stop, and to our government is going to be accountable," Brandon said.

The order has only been lodged with the court, so it will remain there for five business days then be sent to Corlew for review.

County attorney Jim Cope issued a statement saying, "The decision of the court will not be final at the earliest until 30 days after a court order is filed. Therefore, things will remain in a fluid state during the next several weeks until the parties, ICM, and the court address all the legal issues that remain pending and unresolved."

Cope said he plans to file a response to Brandon's order claiming there are several inaccuracies.

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