(Reuters) - A newly constructed Muslim mosque in Tennessee, the subject of a long-running fight in the community, did not receive building inspectors’ clearance to open in time for the start of Ramadan on Thursday.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro said it had learned that several more construction steps that could take 10 days to complete would be needed to obtain an occupancy certificate.
Opponents of the Islamic Center, which replaces a 30-year-old facility, have tried to stop it since local authorities approved the mosque in 2010. They claim Islam was not protected by the U.S. Constitution, the center would promote Sharia law, and it would have unspecified “terrorist” ties.
A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order on Wednesday for worshippers to begin using the facility pending an inspection.
Another court hearing on the matter was scheduled in two weeks.
“It is unfortunate that we cannot be in our building for the start of Ramadan tonight. However, it does look like we will get to enjoy most of Ramadan in our building,” the statement from the Islamic center read.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when followers fast daily from dawn to dusk.
A county judge had barred the congregation in May from using the facility because he said the local planning commission had not given the public enough notice before it met in 2010 to grant a building permit.
Reporting by Joseph O'Leary; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Jackie Frank