Lou Ann Zelenik, a candidate for the Republican nomination in the open TN-06 district, has declared her complete opposition to a local Muslim community being allowed to build a community center. And in her cause, she is quoting Martin Luther King.
Zelenik, a former chair of the Rutherford County GOP, said in a statement: “Let there be no mistake, Lou Ann stands with everyone who is opposed to the idea of an Islamic training center being built in our community. This ‘Islamic Center’ is not part of a religious movement; it is a political movement designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee.”
She also added: “Until the American Muslim community find it in their hearts to separate themselves from their evil, radical counterparts, to condemn those who want to destroy our civilization and will fight against them, we are not obligated to open our society to any of them.”
Zelenik hearkened back to the Civil Rights Movement in seeking to stop a minority religious group from being able to assemble itself. “As Martin Luther King said, ‘in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,’ so let us not be silent,” she wrote. “Stand strong for our God, our families, and our country. God bless you all.”
The case is somewhat reminiscent of recent right-wing protests against a Muslim center that is set to open soon in New York City, near the Ground Zero site of the 9/11 attacks.
The proposed community center in Tennessee, which would include a mosque, gym, school and swimming pool, has attracted local protests. Over 600 people turned out at a meeting last week of the Rutherford County Commission, with reportedly no comments at all made in support of it. One commenter, pastor Allen Jackson of World Outreach Church, declared: “We have a duty to investigate anyone under the banner of Islam.”
Nevertheless, the county approved the project, noting that it met all applicable zoning requirements — and that it is illegal to reject a project for religious reasons.