Murfreesboro mosque seeks cemetery permit

10:21 am | November 5, 2012

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A new Murfreesboro mosque that faced vocal opposition from some community members is requesting a permit for a cemetery.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro withdrew a similar request two years ago while the future of the building was uncertain due to a lawsuit in chancery court.

That suit has now entered the appeals process and two federal suits are pending, but the mosque is complete and in use by the congregation.

“We have older members of the mosque who wish to be buried by the mosque,” Imam Ossama Bahloul told the Daily News Journal. “It’s their dream, and what is wrong with us trying to help them achieve what they have in their heart?”

One person was buried on the property in 2010 under a conditional-use permit, but that burial was one of the things that angered mosque opponents who felt the congregation was getting special treatment. The opponents also told officials they were concerned the body would contaminate the water because it was not in a casket and vault.

Bahloul said the burial was carried out according to Tennessee law with the body placed in a plastic bag. He said three members of the congregation have died in the interim who could have been buried near the mosque if the cemetery had been in place.

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