Bridgewater Mosque Controversy - My9 New Jersey

Bridgewater Mosque Controversy

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Bridgewater, New Jersey (My9NJ) - A Muslim group is trying to build a giant mosque and Islamic center in Bridgewater at the site of the old Redwood Inn, but some residents are saying no way!

Residents say building the huge mosque would create too much traffic in the area.

Long-time Bridgewater resident Frances Hozeny says this isn’t about discrimination, but about keeping the neighborhood residential.

“The people that live in the area of the proposed mosque, it’s a residential zone, and they are concerned about traffic, and I know what the religious group says about traffic, that it’s just a mask. It’s not a mask. There are true concerns,” she said.

The controversy started back in 2001 when plans for the Alfalaj Muslim center were turned down by the Bridgewater planning commission. The Muslim group initially proposed their plans in January and by March of that year the planning board issued a new ordinance that allowed houses of worship to be built in certain parts of town - including the location where the Muslim’s wanted to build.

Then in September 2013 a federal court judge gave the group the go-ahead after deciding that the town needs to at least look at the plans for the mosque.

The plans include the building of a mosque and Islamic center that’s over 15,000 square feet. Imam Ahmad Chebli of the Islamic Center of New Jersey discussed his take on the whole situation.

“My advice to them before they say yes or no we need a mosque, as we have a church, as we have a synagogue, as we have the Hindu, the minority ya know, they have their building, let them make some study, some physical study,” he said.

The planning board will publicly review the plans at a series of hearings beginning next Tuesday.


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