US attorney Jerry E. Martin has said that it is “quite simply ridiculous” to suggest that Islam is not a religion, but that is the path his opponents have take in the controversial case around the building of an Islamic community center, which would include a prayer hall, two blocks from the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
He said in a statement that Islam, is a religion and should be treated as such, including land use rights protected under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Martin was taking issue with attempts by the plaintiffs in the case to define Islam not as a religion, but and ideology and a political system.
The plaintiffs in the case, Kevin Fisher, Lisa Moore and Henry Golczynski further claim that the Murfreesboro council did not give adequate notice to the public for the planning commission meeting in May where the community center plans were approved, nor did they define whether the center was entitled to protection under the First Amendment.
Plans for the 15-acre community center, which would eventually include a mosque/prayer facilities, offices, a gym, indoor pool, class rooms, sports center with basketball and tennis courts and a playground were unanimously approved by planning members.
The local Muslim community say that they have ‘outgrown’ the facility they currently use, which services around 250 families in the area.
"Under the United States Constitution and other federal laws, Islam is plainly a religion, and a mosque is plainly a place of religious assembly," Martin said in his statement.