A federal judge today ruled that the embattled Murfreesboro mosque should be allowed to open its doors for Ramadan.
Judge Todd Campbell will issue a temporary restraining order, overriding the previous actions of a state court and compelling Rutherford County to continue processing the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro's application for a certificate of occupancy. If the mosque passes the codes and safety inspection required of every other building, it will be allowed to open its doors in time for the beginning of the Islamic holy month.
The ruling comes after the Islamic Center and the United States Department of Justice both filed federal lawsuits against the county earlier today.
In May, a Rutherford County judge halted construction on the mosque, on the grounds that there had not been adequate public notice given before the 2010 meeting when the construction plans were approved. In its lawsuit today, the Justice Department argued that the county had violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which prohibits discrimination against religious groups with regards to zoning and land use cases.
Rutherford County attorney Jim Cope said the county felt compelled to comply with the state court's order halting construction on the mosque, and that to say the county was "between a rock and a hard place" was putting it mildly.