US Declares: Islam Is a Religion
Battle over Tennessee mosque gets more heated
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2010 9:53 AM CDT
People in New York protest the proposed construction of a mosque near the World Trade Center site Sunday, June 6, 2010.   (AP Photo/Swoan Parker)

(Newser) – In case you weren’t sure: Islam is a religion, not a political movement. The US Department of Justice officially pronounced it so in a Tennessee courtroom, the latest move in the uproar over a proposed Islamic center in that state. The worshipers of a mosque near Murfreesboro have been attending services there for years, but this controversy started when they proposed a 52,000-square-foot Islamic center. Opponents, in an attempt to block its construction, questioned whether Islam is recognized as a legitimate religion in the US, the Tennessean reports.

“All three branches of government have repeatedly recognized Islam as a religion," says a US attorney. But one critic begs to differ: “Is the Department of Justice going to sanction a religion that kills homosexuals, that kills apostates who leave Islam and convert to Christianity, who kill women because they ask for divorce?” Protesters have gone beyond rallies: In August, someone set construction equipment at the site on fire. Click here to see how one GOP candidate in Tennessee feels about the whole thing.