As the ongoing battle that has pitted residents of Murfreesboro against the rapidly encroaching Muslim population heats up again, a cemetery for dead Muslims is the latest point of contention. Contentious because Muslim tradition forbids the use of caskets in burials which could threaten the water supply.
IWUK Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) is “deeply concerned” about a newly approved plan to build a cemetery for Muslim residents of the central Tennessee city of Murfreesboro. He expressed his anxiety about the cemetery project in a post on his Facebook page Friday afternoon. The comment was first noted by the Nashville Scene.
DNJ From Jan. 9th, The Rutherford County Board of Zoning Appeals approved the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro cemetery request Wednesday night. “We have a cemetery,” ICM Imam Ossama Bahloul said after the 3-2 vote while many members of his congregation and supporters exchanged hugs. “Now we can die,” ICM board Chairman and founder Essam Fathy quipped following the BZA debating the public hearing issue for more than two hours.
The past month, the board deferred a decision in a 3-2 vote following a long public hearing and asked the ICM to seek third-party studies to see if burials without casket and vaults are safe for ground water. The Islamic Center was also asked to study whether the Veals Road entrance and nearby Veals and Bradyville Pike intersection could handle funeral traffic. Murfreesboro attorney John Green on behalf of the ICM insisted that past studies show ample soils exist for the burials.
“Unfortunately the Tennessee Religious Freedom Act, passed by the TN General Assembly, may have played a key role in allowing this cemetery to be approved,” DesJarlais wrote. “There is a difference between legislation that would protect our religious freedoms and legislation that would allow for the circumvention of laws that other organizations comply with on a daily basis.”
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, which is building the cemetery, has been a lightning rod for criticism from religious conservatives (including GOP Rep. Diane Black, who represents Murfreesboro), who have accused its members of plotting a stealth jihad against fellow American citizens.