Searching for Occupy interview Sheik from Murfreesboro Mosque
While we were in Murfreesboro, Tennessee getting the low-down on the local occupiers activities in 2013 (which are varied and many ranging from Cop Watch to childcare collectives to coop library), we decided it was worth our time to visit the Murfreesboro Islamic Center which opened its doors a little over a year ago. The Mosque gained notoriety when a small group of right wing fanatics loudly voiced their opposition and the Muslim community had to fight their way through lawsuits, intimidation and even arson. But, throughout the process they were firmly supported not only by liberals and progressives, but by a large percentage of conservative Christian churches. In the end, the mosque was built and when the Searching for Occupy team arrived just as Friday prayers were about to begin, we were invited in to observe the service. Following the service, my new partner in this venture, VFP member Tom Palumbo, proved his worth to this project when he chanced to notice the Imam, Dr. Ossama Bahloul, sitting in his office with the door ajar. He asked for an interview and it was granted. The story of this particular mosque is noteworthy in that, unlike the proposed Islamic center in New York City, it was built and, in facing the controversy, brought a community together in defense of a basic right this country claims to stand for. We are grateful to the Murfreesboro for welcoming us and talking with us, and especially to Sheik Bahloul, who in spite of negative past experiences with filmmakers, let us turn the camera on while he spoke.