Tennessee Islamic centre ‘not welcome’

Not WelcomeOn the eve of a holiday celebrating the nation’s greatest civil rights activist, a local religious organization suffered vandalism with an unwelcome message.

A sign on Bradyville Pike reading “Future Site of Islamic Center of Murfreesboro” was vandalized over the weekend when someone spray-painted “Not Welcome” on it.

Members of the Islamic Center said they were shocked by the message.

“The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has been established in the Murfreesboro area for over a decade; we have over 200 families that have played an active role in building this community. We have enjoyed a friendly and supportive relationship with all of our friends and neighbors,” said Abdoulrahman Kattih, vice president of the center.

“The coexistence of religions is the core foundation and strength of our nation. While we stand firmly against all acts of vandalism, we believe that this callous action is an effort to gain publicity and sway public opinion towards stereotyping views against Muslims. We, as a community in Murfreesboro, must take a hard-line approach against these acts to defend our nation’s principles and values.”

Tim Sheesley, who lives nearby on Manus Road, was disgusted by the vandalism. “With Martin Luther King Jr. Day just a day away, I just don’t understand it. It’s time we all get along,” Sheesley said Sunday.

Tennessean, 18 January 2010