Islamic Center of Murfreesboro
members will pass a field lined with 13 white crosses in front of Grace Baptist Church
on Bradyville Pike on the way to their new mosque once it opens.
“It was more or less to make a statement to the Muslims about how we felt about our religion, our Christianity,” said Mack Richards, aMiddle Tennessee Baptist Church
member who built the crosses at the request of Grace Baptist member and friend Bobby Francis. “We wanted them to see the crosses and know how we felt about things.”
“That’s what the church voted to do,” said Francis, a member of Grace Baptist since the 1970s when it was on Dill Lane.
Grace Baptist moved into its current home of about 6,000 square feet two years ago and is currently served by interim pastor Dan Watts.
The mosque next door has been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate in the past two years, including vandalism to its sign, abomb threat
, arson to construction equipment
on site and a lawsuit to block its construction. Plaintiffs unsuccessfully argued in court that Islam is not a religion but won one battle in which the judge agreed that insufficient notice
was provided by the county government concerning a meeting over the mosque’s site plans, which is under appeal.