MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Police in Murfreesboro are investigating after vandals left an unfriendly message at the future home of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
The phrase “NOT WELCOME” was spray painted on the sign off Bradyville Pike at Veals Road.
Neighbors discovered the spray paint on Sunday.
Imam Osama Bahloul is the center's leader.
He told News 2, “I was shocked because the majority of the people are nice and we have a good relationship with our neighbors.”
Bahloul said while the vandalism took place over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, he does not think the two are related.
“Probably it was an individual and he has no idea about Martin Luther King,” he said. “If he has an idea about [Dr. King], he or she would not do this.”
By Monday morning, after word of the vandalism had spread, Bahloul began receiving e-mails from members of the community, apologizing.
The Islamic Center purchased the property where the sign sits in December and plan to break ground on a new mosque in the spring.
The vandalism and message will not change that.
“We'll go all the way and we'll build a nice facility and our Muslim people will enjoy it and non-Muslim people will enjoy this,” said Bahloul. “We'll build a nice piece of art.”
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro serves families in five counties at its current home on Middle Tennessee Boulevard.