Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, November 2010
Christian Zionist Group Is Helping Fund Lawsuit Against Murfreesboro Mosque in Tennessee
By Rachel Slajda
November 15, 2010
The arson news:
Christian Zionist Group Is Helping Fund Lawsuit Against a Tenn. Mosque
By Rachel Slajda
TPMMuckraker, November 10, 2010, 9:30AM
The lawsuit to stop the construction of a mosque in middle Tennessee is getting expensive. The preliminary hearing has dragged on, with several days of testimony stretching over more than a month. The county has added $50,000 to its litigation budget to cover expected defense costs and is warning that that number could go up.
So who's funding the plaintiffs -- three local residents who don't have access to taxpayer money?
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a Christian Zionist group, hired and is paying the fees for one of the two lawyers on the case.
The lawsuit alleges that officials in Rutherford County violated its open meeting laws when approving an expansion of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The plaintiffs, however, have spent much of their time in court arguing that Islam is not a religion.
Hiring legal representation is not PJTN's only connection to the lawsuit. The group has been active in Murfreesboro, holding events at the homes of mosque opponents and selling copies of its movies. As noted by the Murfreesboro Post, at least two of the plaintiffs' witnesses -- witnesses who testified that teaching from the Koran is "breaking the law" and that approving the mosque would lead to future "dangers" -- have attended these events and given money to PJTN.
The group, which is based in Tennessee, is run by Laurie Cardoza-Moore. Cardoza-Moore believes, among other things, that nearly all Muslims -- including those in middle Tennessee -- follow a strict interpretation of the Koran: beating their wives, marrying children and killing dishonorable family members.
"Do I believe that Muslims subscribe to those things? If they are good Muslims, they will adhere to the Koran's teachings. Do I believe it's happening here? Yes," she told TPMmuckraker.
If Cardoza-Moore seems familiar, that might be because she appeared in a "Daily Show" segment about the proposed mosque in August. She was also in the news earlier this year after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) spoke at a PJTN event, and Cardoza-Moore -- in violation of IRS regulations about nonprofits -- encouraged members to donate money to the congresswoman's campaign.
In an interview, Cardoza-Moore also said she believes that, although the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has existed without incident for 30 years, it's been hijacked by more radical Muslims who would impose Sharia law and declare jihad on the U.S. and Israel.
And as for that arson at the mosque's construction site? "An inside job," she said, "to try to stir the media up to side with them."
Cardoza-Moore confirmed that she is paying for one of the lawyers.
"I sought him out for legal counsel, for the community, to hear their case and defend them in a court of law," she said.
As for the other lawyer, one of the three plaintiffs has testified that she is not paying him.
"Donations is how I get paid," the lawyer told the plaintiff, Lisa Moore, in court, according to the Daily News Journal. "You're not obligated to pay me one cent."
That lawyer, Joe Brandon Jr., did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did the other attorney, J. Thomas Smith, or any of the plaintiffs. [Ed. note: this article was edited after publication]
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Arrival of Godot 3 days ago
Yikes. For a moment there, I thought I was looking at Palin. Christian Zionists manage to combine a hatered of Islam with a disdain for Judaism and an apocalyptic, cult-like belief that THEY must have all of the land of biblical-era Israel...or else Jesus will be sad. Or something. The irony of decrying a religion as being bigoted and intolerant by absolutely slandering every one of said religion's followers always seems to escape these fundie whackjobs. Flag
You have to give them credit for originality. After 1300 years, they decide that Islam is not a religion. Next up: Fighting Title VII suits by arguing that African Americans are not black.... Flag
Well, you know, they're kind of a brownish color, really... *headdesks* Flag
Chabuka 3 days ago
There can be only ONE Religious terrorist group in the U.S.... it must be Christian....(after all, we are a Christian Nation...!) Flag
Esqueejy 3 days ago
Meh. The suit is going to get tossed and the town's citizenry will learn a fun lesson in the effect frivolous nonsense has on property taxes in order to restore the municipality's budget to the black. And if myopic whackjob bigotted religious zealots want to waste their money on abusive legal shitfits, then let them...I hope they go broke. Flag
This makes the case for the losers in lawsuits to pay the legal costs for their opponents. In this case, the plaintiffs should be required to pay the legal expenses for the defense. Is there any reason why the municipality cannot sue the plaintiffs for the costs associated with defending this nonsense - rather than expect the taxpayers to pay for upholding the First Ammendment of the US Constitution? . Flag
Not really. It's generally a remedy available when the suit was entirely frivolous, but even then pretty hard to get. We may think this one is frivolous, but they appear to have at least made a colorable argument. Anyway, discouraging people from accessing the courts to pursue their rights by punishing EVERYONE who loses, no matter whether they had a decent argument, is bad public policy. Flag
montn 3 days ago
What else can you expect from a state that honored the KKK? Flag
Thank you. The KKK gets the all time Terrorist Award....home grown terorists. I am so sick of all the people who use religion to justify their hate. Flag
HowlingOutlaw 3 days ago
That's an interesting idea: "We don't like Islam, so instead of making this a religious debate we'll just discredit them as a religion altogether, and then claim their now some sort of radical Middle Eastern cult." Because that's the thing, people for the most part will accept a religious debate, but if it's a religion versus a cult, well no one is going to listen to the latter. I wonder if they realize that if you will not allow Islamic law for situations pertaining to Muslims then you can't allow Judaic law for Jews, or practically any law that we have now - most are based around "Christian" (and I use that loosely) ideals. When did logic and thinking become obsolete? Flag
CityGuy 3 days ago
"What Would Jihadists Do?" Flag
fast eddie 3 days ago
This case is about open meeting laws. They haven't proved their case. So they change the subject. Islam is a religion. Just because some people say it's not. That doesn't make it not a religion. Flag
Soon they'll argue that the defendents in the court case don't exist, along with anyone else who disapproves with their view, and insist that they win by default. Can't win a court case if you don't exist! Flag
Can't be sued if you don't exist either. Flag
How about a lawyer filing a class action suit on behalf of the citizens of Murfreesboro, Tenn against Justice to the Nations to recoup all the money the government of the people of Murfreesboro are spending to defend the First Ammendment rights of the citizens of Murfreesboro? Where are the "normal" citizens, if any exist in Tennessee, and why not fight idiocy with common sense? Make idiots pay for their nonsense and even they will think twice before filing frivilous lawsuits. . Flag
friendlygoldens 3 days ago
What do John Boehner and Mitch McConnell say on this? They want to be the new leaders of our congress....so let them start leading. Read a few books: - Under the Banner of Heaven - Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher became one of America's leading atheists Everyone, even the so called believers, should fear a building American Theocracy. Flag
LiberalRedneck 3 days ago
This is exactly how intelligent design was pushed. Flag
chard 3 days ago
Cardozo-Moore believes Muslims "...follow a strict interpretation of the Koran: beating their wives, marrying children and killing dishonorable family members." Little wonder they'd settle in Tennessee. Flag
As a Southerner, that both offends me and makes me giggle at the same time. Well played, sir. Flag
Oh, come on. Even Southerners make fun of Tennessee. Flag
Ugg the Repug 3 days ago
[Ed. note: this article was edited after publication] Hmmmm. Color Ugg curious. Thumb-sucker lede does not read like Rachel. Lede not "lawsuit getting expensive." Lede is Christian klan funding hatesuit. Gyak! Flag
stratosgc 3 days ago
The mission of "Christian Zionists" groups is to bring on the end of the world. These folks are crazy as loons. If they succeed in screwing up the planet and plunging us all into chaos, they are going to be really unhappy that they do not get raptured out, and have to suffer with the rest of us. Flag
hebrewzzi 3 days ago
I thought the Teabaggers were for less Government spending. So why would they file a frivolous lawsuit and waste taxpayer money? Hypocrites...all of 'em. Flag
afblac 3 days ago
Can't we come up with another name for these people. Their beliefs are anything but Christian, and, whatever you call what they practice, it has no resemblence to Christianity either. They are intolerant thugs. Flag
Well maybe you are right - I don't believe in God or religion. But it would seem to me that leaders in the Christian communities would speak out against this crap but they don't so I think Christians do believe this crap and they are a bunch of lunatic hypocrites Flag
Crickets. Exactly. Where are the courageous Christians? Are you showing tolerance for hate? Jesus Christ! Flag
Well, if we're going to call Bin Laden a Muslim, I guess we have to be consistent. Flag
michael.a.powe 3 days ago
I am wondering if this woman/organization may be guilty of slander. She states, without proof, that the Muslims committed arson to "gain media sympathy" and that members of the mosque are spouse abusers and murderers. I don't believe you can actually go around publicly making those kinds of accusations. We're not in the realm of "political speech," here. Nor is she implying; she making categorical statements, as fact. Hmm. mp Flag
An ethnic or religious category can't sue for defamation, nor can a member of a of that category claim to have been defamed by aspersions cast upon his group generally. Flag
Mecklen 3 days ago
Progressive Christians are appalled at these "Christianists" (Andrew Sullivan's term) - but like their moderate Muslim counterparts, there's not but so much they can do to change the fact that fundamentalists in general are assholes. Interesting that the same neck of the woods produced bulky books that can be interpreted any way the reader likes, and have generally given the world more ongoing misery than the rest of the planet combined. I do hope these creeps spend all their Amway $$ on this lawsuit, And I, too, at first glance thought this woman was Palin. Is there a name for that hairstyle? Flag
leftflank 3 days ago
And yet christianity is being sold all over the world as a loving, accepting, god of all, religion. If you convert from Islam to christianity then your welcomed in, even in Tennessee, but if you dare to stick with the religion of your choice & beliefs, then your not even legit & your made out to be more vicious & hateful than your accusers. The Dogma Doctrine. Flag
EdA 3 days ago
Is Fundamentalist "Christianity" a religion? Doesn't seem so to me. Flag
BigJonny 3 days ago
She's nuts. Not sure if this has been linked already (sorry if it has): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2A5reoBMS8
mrs panstreppon 3 days ago
Is this the same J. Thomas Smith who was investigated in connection to his ties with Jack Abramoff. He is from Tennesse and headed and was behind America 21. Flag
hotch 3 days ago
So it's 2010 and they're in a United States county court fighting a case where there main argument is that Islam is not a religion. Reflecting on my morning commute wisdom, I find it telling that the stuff everyone laughs at in the subways of NYC is taken seriously in the high courts of Tennessee. Flag
jphomebrewer66 3 days ago
I am sick and tired of these so-called "Christian Zionists" taking their wing-nut actions that delay the eventual Rapture from happening. I'm waiting for the end-of-days when all moderates, athiests, and secular-humanists are proven wrong and taken up to heaven, while all the extremists have to stay down on the planet and wallow in their own mental, emotional, and literal feces. Flag
MTinMO 2 days ago
I wish I was in a position to contribute money to the county to help them defend this ridiculous lawsuit. This case is so anti-American and yet I bet the jerks pushing it proclaim themselves to be "patriots". If this is patriotism, this country is in serious trouble. They want to violate one of the most important parts of the Constitution. Flag
walterledgett50 2 days ago
"...beating their wives, marrying children and killing dishonorable family members." Aren't all these in the Bible too? Flag
martskers 2 days ago
I want someone to explain to me why so many of these kooks seem to be women. In addition to this idiot, there's the main anti-mosque nut, Pamela Geller, and then, of course, there's the queen of the kooks, Orly Taitz. These three, at least, seem to be about the same age. Was there some kind of aberration in the X chromosome when these ladies were conceived? Oh, and when it comes to hate groups, Tennessee is still behind New Jersey, California, Floirda and Texas, and barely ahead of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri as a location of hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, so be careful who you throw stones at. Misanthropy and intolerance have no geographic monopoly. Flag
jonlester 2 days ago
How do you belong to a group like this without being some kind of supremacist? It's not the American way, try as they may to assert otherwise. Flag
AllTheBest2U 1 day ago
Max Blumenthal's latest takes us on a shocking and at times bizarre tour of right-wing Pastor John Hagee's annual Washington-Israel Summit, blowing the cover off the Christian Zionist movement in the process.
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