The Islamic Center of Tennessee has finalized a deal to purchase a movie theater in Antioch that it plans to convert into a mosque and community center.
The Islamic group had been in the process of raising $1.55 million to purchase the old theater on 5400 Bell Forge Lane owned by Carmike Cinemas. Aug. 9 was the deadline to close on the deal.
“There are thousands of American Muslims who live in Middle Tennessee that call this area their home,” a press release on the group’s website reads. “The new center will cater for the growing needs of American Muslims from all walks of life and serve as a place of worship and a comprehensive Center.”
Yasser Arafat, vice president of fundraising for the group, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The planned mosque, which would also feature a gymnasium, convention space and recreation amenities, had ignited a debate on the future of the area.
A group of Antioch residents collected more than 1,800 petition signatures in hopes of swaying Carmike Cinemas to sell its property to Nashville State Community College if the mosque deal had fallen through. The school, along with a church group, previously placed bids on the property.
It’s still unclear when construction on the new mosque will begin. Islamic center leaders had previously told The City Paper additional fundraising would be required to get the project started.