CAIRO - Reflecting growing anti-Muslim sentiments in the United Stated, a Texas man has been indicted for threatening to use violence against Murfreesboro Islamic center and violate the civil rights of the American Muslim minority.
What we're hoping is that this sends a very strong message to any would-be individual who would threaten a mosque or take an action that would result in an individual's constitutional rights being violated, United States Attorney Jerry Martin said, the New York Times reported on Friday, June 22.
The indictment issued on Thursday indicted Javier A. Correa, 24, of Corpus Christi, Tex., accusing him of violating the civil rights of members of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
The federal grand jury's decision came in connection with a long, threatening message he is said to have left on the center's phone last September.
Amid a slew of threats and profanity was this sentence: On Sept. 11, 2011, there's going to be a bomb in the building, according to the indictment.
The US Justice Department said the indictment was an aggressive stance in support of religious freedom and was intended as a warning to people who might resort to violence and other illegal activity to prevent the mosque or any other religious institution to operate.
The Justice Department has been investigating threats and violence against the Islamic community in Murfreesboro for almost two years.
Since the approval of its construction, the Murfreesboro mosque was the center of attacks.
In August 2010, a fire destroyed construction equipment and damaged vehicles at the construction site for the mosque. Police said it was arson.
A sign announcing the mosque was spray-painted with the words "Not Welcome."
For months, mosque leaders searched for contractors to build the mosque, but the hostile opposition has turned many away from taking the job.
Mosque leaders said contractors told them it had become too much of a hot-button issue and presented too much of a risk to their business and equipment.
Mosque officials said a contractor told them that he needed the work but that the leaders of his own church were against the new Islamic center.
As the threats of violence continues against Murfreesboro's Islamic center, a legal battle was taking place after the court decided to suspend the mosque construction, undermining the right to freedom of religion.
The court decision was followed by graffiti, arson and accusations of ties to terrorists.
"They can say what they want to divide people or scare people. And it will not work," Essam Fathy, a physical therapist who heads the planning committee for Murfreesboro's new mosque, told NPR.
Last May, a US judge halted the construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
The judge ruled that the Rutherford County planning commission had not given enough public notice prior to a 2010 meeting when the mosque plans were approved.
Attorneys of the Rutherford Country say meetings to approve the mosque plans were announced in the local newspaper and its website and the approval was in line with law.
Muslim community leaders complain that the court ruling breaches their constitutional rights.
All across the US, mosques have been facing fierce opposition recently.
At least 18 mosque projects from Mississippi to Wisconsin have found foes who battle to stop them from seeing light citing different pretexts, including traffic concerns and fear of terrorism.
Even more, some mosques were vandalized including a 2011 Wichita mosque arson case for which a $5,000 reward is being offered.
In multicultural New York, a proposed mosque near Ground Zero site has snowballed into a national public and political debate, with opponents arguing that the Muslim building would be an insult to the memory of the 9/11 victims.
Advocates, however, say that the mosque would send a message of tolerance in 9/11-post America.