Rep. Scott DesJarlais 'Deeply Concerned' About Muslim Cemetery in Tennessee

| by Michael Allen

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) recently expressed his "deep" concern about a proposed cemetery for Muslims in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The cemetery would be built by the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, which also faced intense conservative opposition when it was built. The center was hit with lawsuits and vandal attacks for two years before finally opening in 2012, reported The New York Times.

The Nashville Scene reports that Rep. Desjarlais wrote on his Facebook page last Friday about the cemetery:

Friends, I have received numerous calls over the last couple of weeks regarding the Murfreesboro mosque cemetery. Although this is a state issue, I am deeply concerned over the impact it might have on our community. 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. 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.

Rep. DesJarlais also linked his Facebook posting to an article by The Tennessean, which reported that the Muslim cemetery had recently been approved by the Rutherford County Board of Zoning Appeals.

“We have a cemetery,” said Islamic Center of Murfreesboro Imam Ossama Bahloul said after the 3-2 vote.

“Now we can die,” Islamic Center of Murfreesboro board Chairman and founder Essam Fathy joked.

Sources: The Tennessean, Nashville Scene, Facebook, The New York Times