A witness in the Murfreesboro mosque trial said she believed America would be better off without Muslims and pledged support to fight a proposed mosque in her community.
Murfreesboro resident Jeanetta Alford was called to the stand Thursday in an effort by plaintiffs to stop the construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Rutherford County.
"If anyone is teaching out of the Qur'an, then yes, you are breaking the law," Alford told the court. "I believe we have to follow the Bible and respect our government."
Alford went on to describe the dangers of Sharia law and her new found fear of Islam after studying publications and hearing from local mosque opponents.
"If the religion of Islam allows men to beat their wives and have sex with children, then it's against our law," Alford said. "If any so-called religion violates our United States Constitution then it should not stand. People should stand up against that."
Alford admitted in cross examination that she has given money to a group she believes educates the community about the dangers of Islam.
"I've not given much because my husband lost his job," Alford told the court. "But we did give $100 to an education group, and I bought a DVD called 'Lest We Forget.'"
The admission comes a day after another plaintiff witness, Millie Evans, admitted giving $600 to the same group, denying any knowledge her money was funding the lawsuit.
"I felt like what they told me it was for was to educate the community on what Islam is about," Evans told the court yesterday.
The group Alford and other plaintiff's witnesses fund is called Proclaiming Justice To The Nations (PJTN). The group, described to the Post by President Laurie Cardoza-Moore as a "community activist group," funds the lawsuit against the county's May 24 site plan approval for a proposed Islamic community center on Veals Road.
Plaintiff Attorney J. Thomas Smith of Franklin told the Post today he was retained by PJTN and works with the group's president and plaintiff attorney Joe Brandon Jr.
The group has also used contributions from local residents to pay witnesses who appeared on the stand Thursday.
Timothy Jones Cummings Sr. is one witness who admitted being paid thousands of dollars by plaintiff attorneys to read to the court from anti-Muslim websites he found.
"I'm not clear on the purpose of his testimony here," Chancellor Robert E. Corlew III told plaintiff's attorneys before allowing the testimony. Corlew noted a defense objection and warned admission was contingent on plaintiffs showing relevance at a later date.
Under tough cross examination, County Attorney Josh McCreary highlighted the problem with allowing what defense called blatant hearsay.
"They paid you $3,000 to print stuff off the internet and present it on the screen here," McCreary asked the witness. "You read pages and pages of this stuff and don't know the truthfulness of any of this, correct?"
Cummings showed anti-American cartoons and other web postings he says shows the nefarious nature of local Muslims plaintiffs claim are behind the proposed mosque.
"I cannot testify to the veracity of any content I've presented or what's presented on anyone's web page," Cummings admitted to the court.
Cummings went on to say he was asked as a computer expert to find content online for the plaintiffs about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. What he presented were web postings by noted anti-Muslim websites (Iconoclast and New English Review) and videos of people he could not identify talking about what they saw on other websites.
"At this point he's dependent on the veracity of some third party," Chancellor Corlew said. "Mr. Cummings has no way he can independently verify this content existed."
The court also watched the May 24 County Commission meeting in which the site plan for the proposed mosque was approved under religious 'use of right' land ordinances.
Plaintiffs contend Islam is not a religion and local Muslims should not have been granted such consideration for approval of their mosque's site plan.
Plaintiffs have yet another full day before the court starting tomorrow morning at 8:30.
- Plaintiffs ask if Islam is a religion in mosque trial - Oct. 20, 2010
- County officials called to testify in Murfreesboro mosque trial on The Murfreesboro Post - Sept. 29, 2010
- Mosque opponents have full second day in court on The Murfreesboro Post - Sept. 28, 2010
- Murfreesboro mosque opponents appear in Chancery Court - Sept. 27, 2010
- Lawsuit filed to stop Mosque as supporters speak up - Sept. 17, 2010
- Residents demand construction on Mosque be halted - Aug. 13, 2010
- RuCo considers changes to zoning regarding religious buildings - Aug. 2, 2010
- Residents express concerns over new Islamic Community Center - June 18, 2010