September 5th, 2012
01:19 PM ET
By Moni Basu, CNN
On the program, called "The Threat in Our Backyard," is a lecture on Islam in public schools and a short film on Sharia finance.
It's a program organized by people who feel the American way of life is threatened by Islam - in particular, Sharia, or Islamic law.
Sharia would bring ruin to America, says Greg Johnson, vice president of the 9/12 Project Tennessee, a sponsor of the event that advocates for shifting government back to the intent of the Constitution's authors.
August 7th, 2012
08:00 AM ET
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published in 2011. Daoud Abudiab is president of the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tennessee, where he works as an administrator for a physicians' group.
By Daoud Abudiab, Special to CNN
Last year, my son and I attended the White House conference on bullying prevention. We heard stories of people being bullied for being black, gay, lesbian and Sikh. The stories were compelling and left me more critical of our culture, in which it is popular to act in ways that dishonor our traditions.
Some of my friends were interested in the details of my Washington trip. I commented on the diversity at the White House event. A friend made a joke about the composition of attendees reflecting a typical Democratic Party gathering.
I thought of it as a typical American gathering. But I have become aware that not all Americans honor my American citizenship.
In some circles, my Muslim faith is not even accepted as a religion.
May 30th, 2012
04:21 AM ET
By Lateef Mungin and Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) – The long-running battle between a Tennessee Muslim community and its critics over a new mosque took a dramatic turn with a county judge's ruling that could bring construction to a halt.
"Everyone is really shocked, many people are crying about this," Imam Osama Bahloul, leader of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said early Wednesday.
"We did exactly what other churches in the county did," he said. "We followed the same process that other churches did. Why did this happen? Some people feel like it is discrimination."
The judge, Chancellor Robert Corlew, ruled Tuesday that plans for the new mosque that had previously been approved by a local planning commission were now "void and of no effect."
He said the planning commission violated state law by not providing proper public notice. The ruling throws the date of the mosque's completion, scheduled for July, up in the air.
Rutherford County Attorney Jim Cope said Corlew did not address the issue of whether work on the mosque has to stop right away. He said county planners will discuss options and determine an appropriate course of action.
September 2nd, 2011
10:18 PM ET
By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
It has taken months, but leaders of an embattled Murfreesboro, Tennessee, mosque say that construction of a new facility could start as soon as next month.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has existed for more than a decade. As it surpassed 1,000 worshippers, its members planned to build a new 52,000-square-foot structure with a mosque, gym, playground and cemetery.
Backlash followed, including lawsuits and an August 2010 fire that destroyed construction equipment and damaged vehicles at the construction site for the mosque. Police said it was arson.
May 23rd, 2011
10:09 AM ET
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
A few months ago I spoke at an interfaith forum at the University of North Alabama. One of the speakers on my panel was Ossama Bahloul, imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
Bahloul began his talk by observing that God must have a sense of humor to have given him a name as problematic as Ossama. But the heart of his talk concerned the compatibility of Islam with American values.
What surprised me about Bahloul, in both his public talk and our private conversations, was his deep and abiding faith in America. Signs at the construction site for his planned mosque had been vandalized twice and federal investigators had determined that a fire at the site was intentionally set. Efforts to build that mosque, appropriate for a growing congregation that had been active in the area for roughly two decades, were met not only with protests but also with a lawsuit.
April 25th, 2011
12:48 PM ET
One Knoxville church gave back to the community by giving away $10,000 in gasoline.
February 9th, 2011
10:15 AM ET
A portion of a Rutherford County, Tennessee church was destroyed by fire early Tuesday morning but it could have been much worse.
Only an outbuilding on the property of Miracle Baptist Church on Murfreesboro Road in LaVergne, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, was scorched by flames, thanks, in part, to a man who was down-on-his-luck and reached out to the church for help just days earlier.
Ronald Kehl placed the critical call to the 911 just before 5 a.m. after he woke up, looked out his window and saw smoke turn to flames.Read the full story on WKRN.com
September 13th, 2010
07:59 PM ET
CNN's Ashley Fantz filed this report.
Camie Ayash was raised in Brooklyn, the daughter of an agnostic nurse and a New York City cop with a skeptic's approach to religion.
She is the last person one might expect to be pushing to build a mosque in middle Tennessee.
"My dad was always telling me to compare this with that, to read everything I could and find the discrepancies," she said. "He would stay up into the night reading the Old Testament, the King James Bible, the Torah and look up translations of the Quran, pointing out conflicting statements within the same book.
September 3rd, 2010
06:45 PM ET
A fire last weekend at the construction site of a future mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has been determined to be arson, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman said Friday.
Lab reports indicate that accelerants were used to start and spread the fire, which destroyed an earth mover and damaged three other vehicles at the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, ATF spokesman Eric Kehn said.
There are no suspects in the arson, which occurred early Saturday morning, Kehn said. The investigation is ongoing and the ATF and FBI are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects, authorities said at a Friday press conference at the construction site.
September 1st, 2010
04:19 PM ET
Just days after the FBI suggested a suspicious fire at the future site of a Tennessee Islamic center had been set deliberately, a spokeswoman for the center used the religiously charged term “extremist” to hit back at an opponent of the project.
In a taped interview that aired Tuesday on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°, Laurie Cardoza-Moore said she opposes the construction of an Islamic center in Murfreesboro, because an online posting by one of the center’s board members suggested a radical agenda and raised broader questions about the judgment and the ties of the center’s leadership.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.