Fire at Proposed Mosque Site in Tennessee Probed From

A spokesman for federal arson investigators said Sunday a fire that damaged construction equipment at the site of an Islamic center in suburban Nashville remained under investigation.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman Eric Kehn said his department was working with the FBI and the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office to determine what happened at the site early Saturday morning.

"At this point, it's still an onging investigation," Kehn said. He declined to characterize the fire, which a spokeswoman for the center said appeared to have been set by someone who doused construction equipment with gasoline then set at least one truck ablaze.

Camie Ayash told the Daily News Journal the fire has frightened Muslims, who have been part of the community for decades.

"Everyone in our community no longer feels safe," Ayash said. "To set a fire that could have blown up equipment and, God forbid, spread and caused damage to the neighbors there ... When (officials) called me this morning, I started crying."

A sign marking the site of the future Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has been vandalized twice in the past several months. But Ayash said the fire "takes it to a whole new level."

The incident marks the latest twist in an increasingly volatile debate surrounding the efforts of the local Muslim community to build a much larger house of worship. The proposed center on 15 acres would include a mosque, a multi-purpose facility, sports facilities, a pavilion and a cemetery, and serve approximately 250 families.

Digging had begun at the site, located directly beside a Baptist church.

Some opposition has come from those expressing concerns about infrastructure impact and traffic, but much has also come from from those implying the mosque would be a haven for terrorists.

Ayash said Islamic Center officials were contacted by the sheriff's department around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

She said it appeared gasoline had been poured on several pieces of equipment at the site and one vehicle was lit on fire.

"I think they lifted the hood and poured gas into the hood and set it on fire," Ayash said. "The other equipment had gasoline poured on it but was not set on fire."

Authorities working the scene did not specify whether gasoline or some other accelerant was used to start the fire that gutted the engine area of an earth hauler.

Islamic Center officials contacted the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on Saturday, according to Ayash, and sheriff's investigators "told us they will be investigating this as a hate crime."

Ayash later said sheriff's officials "asked her to correct her statement," adding they plan to explore several different motives while investigating the apparent arson.

Rutherford County resident Kevin Fisher, who has led protest efforts against the mosque on the grounds of infrastructure concerns and a lack of transparency in the county's planning approval process, issued a statement Saturday.

"We in this community believe strongly in the rule of law, and choose to settle our disagreements through peaceful deliberations and discussion, not vigilantism. ... We who stand in opposition to this mosque have made our concerns known through proper legal channels and have conducted ourselves with dignity, respect and out of a spirit of love for our community, and we will continue to do so."

12 Comments

4 years 38 weeks ago, 1:14 PM

HKBauer

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Again from Fox news.

Again from Fox news.

4 years 38 weeks ago, 1:49 PM

Builtf0rdtough

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not a bad thing. being from fox.

"Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy"-Winston Churchill
4 years 38 weeks ago, 2:39 PM

ACE

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First of all!!!!

I live like 2 hrs from there. I didnt do it!!! I promise!!! And second of all, This woman said, "and GOD forbid". WTH??? She doesnt even believe in my or your GOD, so what the hell is she doing using His name in reference to what happened???? I hope they try to start building again, and some good American does the same thing again!!! Thats just my personal opinion!!

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4 years 38 weeks ago, 2:41 PM

Lyle Hutchins 1

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sports facilities, a pavilion and a cemetery
a cemetery????? How Conveinant!!!! Let Us all help our muslum Bros. to fill this nice cemetry!!! With those who attend this Holy Structure.
"told us they will be investigating this as a hate crime."
No SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lyle

Lyle Hutchinson
4 years 38 weeks ago, 2:46 PM

CharlesW

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shoot a ball of fire 300 feet.

Just mentioning it.

A little rebellion is good medicine for the government Thomas Jefferson
4 years 38 weeks ago, 2:54 PM

Lyle Hutchins 1

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Ace Yes, what does she know of God??? And your opinion, is a mirror of mine!!
Also, let the Masque in NY be built, then let it be filled. Maby someone in the US will fly an airplane into it. : -)
Lyle
Well that's how I feel.

Lyle Hutchinson
4 years 38 weeks ago, 3:14 PM

ACE

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Lyle

Well thank you Sir!!! And I hope somebody does just that to their "temple" (HAHAHA) in NY!!! Im not ashamed to say that. Did you happen to read the defonitions I posted last night while talking to rangersarge??? I stumbled upon those the other day, and they just make me cringe everytime I think about them. I know they were probobly based on the Vietnam times of the black panthers, BUT....... I think it fits this day and time a whole hell of a lot better.

“When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour.”- George Washington
4 years 38 weeks ago, 3:21 PM

CharlesW

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at voting stations when Obama was elected.

I think they should have been thrown in jail.

A little rebellion is good medicine for the government Thomas Jefferson
4 years 38 weeks ago, 3:33 PM

ACE

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CW

I'll be completely honest with U, Ive turned into a HATER of the news. I dont watch it AT ALL..... Its ALWAYS bad news, or its BS!!! Know what I mean?? The only way I stay tuned into "World/US events" is on here. I am a very positive, up-beat person, and when I did watch the news, it only reminded me of what a Bad place we live in and have created, and my day, or sleep was ruined. I found that the less I heard or watched of everything that scared or worried me, the better my day would be, or the better sleep I would have. I feel like a dumbass sometimes when Im out, or around friends, and conversations are going on about something that was on the news, but I choose to live this way. I do like watching Glenn Beck!!! He gets way deep sometimes, but has a strong belief in his morals and values, and the way things are, compared to how they should be!!

“When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour.”- George Washington
4 years 38 weeks ago, 3:04 PM

CharlesW

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construction men to work on it?
I wouldn't touch the SOB for $100.00
per hour

A little rebellion is good medicine for the government Thomas Jefferson
4 years 38 weeks ago, 3:06 PM

HKBauer

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Sadly yes

There are companies and workers who dont see an issue with this to them it is just another building to work on, I am willing to bet that the construction companies will be owned by foregin(SP?) interests.

4 years 28 weeks ago, 1:36 AM

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