NJ Mosque Controversy Continues - My9 New Jersey

NJ Mosque Controversy Continues

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Bridgewater, New Jersey (My9NJ) - The town of Bridgewater, New Jersey finds itself in the throes of a major mosque controversy.

At a series of public meetings this week, the Muslim Al Falah group presented their plans to build a giant mosque where the old Redwood Inn and catering hall used to be and residents both for and against the building of this mosque came out in full force to speak their mind.

Bridgewater resident Kim Osoczo explained why she is against the building of this massive center.

“I’m a Christian and I believe people have a right to have religious freedom, and I don’t want to prevent people from having that, I’m just concerned about the location,” she said.

Members of the Al Falah group, like Omar Mahammedi, feel that some of these Bridgewater residents are just plain racist and this is discrimination.

“There are people who do not want the Muslims to be around, they don’t want the Islamic center to be around,” he said.

Back in 2011, the Bridgewater Planning Commission initially dismissed the mosque’s plans on the basis of a new rule that houses of worship could only be built in certain parts of town. They said it was due to traffic concerns in residential neighborhoods, but the controversy was revived last September when a judge sided with the Al Falah group in federal court, saying there was strong circumstantial evidence that the planning board had discriminated against them.

If the plans are able to move forward, the mosque will be almost 15000 sq. feet and include a large dome. One outstanding and controversial feature is a minaret on top of the building that would reach 47.5 feet high. That doesn’t sit well with some residents, who say this is about keeping their neighborhood residential.

The town is now appealing the judge’s decision that they discriminated and it looks like neither side is stepping down anytime soon.


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