Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A mosque in the Bible Belt

by Lee Wishing

July 12, 2010

Are Muslims making a bold statement by building a 52,000-square-foot Islamic Community Center in the town known as the “buckle of the Bible Belt?” If so, what is that statement and how should the people of Murfreesboro, Tenn., deal with it?

What would you do if a plan for a large Islamic campus featuring a mosque, an imam educated in Egypt, an education area, a soccer field, a tennis court, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and a cemetery came to your community? Would you be enthusiastic, angry, ambivalent, scared about the potential establishment of a separate community governed by Sharia law or the decline of property values? What would you expect your pastor to do? Your local newspapers? Your political leaders? It sounds like a case study for a graduate school program in sociology or religion. For the residents of Murfreesboro, however, this is real life.