Bridgewater: residents say they fear that the proposed mosque, called al-Falah Center, will lead to a crush of traffic and a surge in accidents on the community’s narrow roads. (Not to mention eardrum shattering calls to prayer several times a day) Muslims, meanwhile, say the resistance is rooted in bigotry.
NJ — At nearly 15,500 square feet and a parking lot, a vacant banquet hall in Bridgewater offers everything a group of Somerset County Muslims are looking for in a house of worship. Their vision for the 7.6-acre property, however, is everything neighboring residents fear. In just a few months, discussions to transform the Redwood Inn into Bridgewater’s first mosque have erupted into a war of words between neighbors and local Sunni Muslims.
It’s a struggle that’s drawn heated debate and vitriolic remarks, and the tension reached a fever pitch last week when the township council approved an ordinance that would restrict houses of worship, as well as country clubs and schools, to major roads. That means mosque planners must now ask Bridgewater’s zoning board for an exception to those rules or find a new site.
The alFalah members view the move as an effort designed to keep them out, with a state law poised to take effect in May that would prevent projects under review from being altered to fit new zoning rules. (Yes, they don’t want Muslims there, period)
AlFalah officials last week were still deciding if they would seek legal action.(CAIR will get to it, don’t worry)
For years, alFalah members have been searching for a permanent home. (I hear Saudi Arabia has lots of room for Sunni Muslims) They currently gather at the Green Knoll Fire Hall near the Redwood Inn, after years of renting space across the region, including a stint at a day care center.
To Muslim youth, a permanent mosque would be more than a place to worship: It would offer a community where they can learn more about their religion and culture, as well as organize community service projects. (Especially all those courses for little terrorists in training)
The mosque would also be a place where they can show non-Muslims who they are, said Sabrina Mirza, a 22-year-old Rutgers student from Bridgewater. (No, thanks, we know who you are) “There’s a stigma that we don’t care about the outside community … but even now that’s not the case,” Mirza said. “They are further isolating us by not letting us get together.” (That’s the idea)
And of course, we have the usual self-hating liberal Jewish rabbi scum who are supporting it: Motivated by what he called “the Jewish obligation to welcome the stranger,” Rabbi Elliott Tepperman of Montclair is leading a drive to support the building of an Islamic cultural center in Bridgewater, a plan that has met with strong opposition from some of its neighbors.
A mosque proposed in Paramus has also drawn some criticism, but the reaction against the Bridgewater mosque is the most intense right now in New Jersey, said James Yee, who oversees the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (You knew terrorist front group CAIR had to be involved)
“To me, these zoning changes make it sound like, ‘You can ride the bus, but you can’t ride in front,’” said Yee, a Muslim and former U.S. Army chaplain who was accused of espionage in 2004 — charges that have been dropped. (No, you can’t even get on the bus)
Shen, a 53-year-old Chinese-American, believes the mosque’s supporters have been too quick to dismiss the criticism. “I’m a minority, too,” he said. “They make it sound like their rights are being violated. To me, it’s not that at all. This is just not the right place for it.”