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Hearing over Tennessee mosque puts Islam on trial
by Travis Loller
Islam is suddenly on trial in a booming Nashville suburb, where opponents of a new mosque have spent six days in court trying to link it to what they claim is a conspiracy to take over America by imposing restrictive religious rule.
The hearing is supposed to be about whether Rutherford County officials violated Tennessee's open meetings law when they approved the mosque's site plan. Instead, plaintiff's attorney Joe Brandon Jr. has used it as a forum to question whether the world's second-biggest faith even qualifies as a religion, and to push a theory that American Muslims want to replace the Constitution with extremist Islamic law.
"Do you want to know about a direct connection between the Islamic Center and Shariah law, a.k.a. terrorism?" Brandon asked one witness in a typical line of questioning.
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