The national headlines for the stories about the event suggested some of the conflicts that had led to this moment: The New York Daily News wrote, "Tennessee Mosque Opens After Years of Controversy," the New York Times wrote "After a Struggle, Mosque Opens in Tennessee", and NPR wrote "Murfreesboro Mosque Finally Opens." But the summer day when it opened was peaceful and harmonious, with the exception of a lone protester, wearing an "I Love Jesus" hat and a shirt bearing the 10 Commandments.
The day was one for celebration, and the members of the Muslim community who had gathered were not dwelling on the fact that during court battles over permits, Rutherford County had spent more than $340,000 in legal fees fighting the right to build this place of worship.
The community itself was split between those attacking the approximately 300 families of the mosque for being Muslim and those who banded with their Muslim neighbors.
Most residents remember the saga of the mosque, and the Baptist church next door made its anti-Islam position very clear by erecting 13 10-foot-tall crosses into the ground "to make a statement." There are residents of Murfreesboro who stood with their Muslim neighbors, leaving flowers and handwritten cards at the front door of the mosque, but there are increasingly louder voices that threaten the safety of others who happen to be Muslim.
His daughter Dima was born in Damascus, but her mother brought her to the United States when she was eight months old to join Saleh, who was earning his PhD at the time.