It did not go unnoticed by Islamic leaders that some of the fiercest criticism was whipped up by candidates in this year's elections. At the forefront was Lou Ann Zelenik, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress who is a leader of the local Tea Party movement.
"This 'Islamic Centre' is not part of a religious movement; it is a political movement designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee," Zelenik said. "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 civilisation and will fight against them, we are not obligated to open our society to any of them."
Alongside Zelenik was Laurie Cardoza-Moore, the founder of a group that rallies Christians in support of Israel. Cardoza-Moore describes herself as "a leader who successfully stewards masses toward her intended outcomes".
She told a Christian television station that the plan to build a new mosque in Murfreesboro was part of a plot to take over Middle Tennessee because it is the heart of the Bible belt:
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