Government

Al Falah: The New Property for a Mosque Serves Our Purpose

de3b8868442a274a1ac1_Bridgewater_symbol.jpg
de3b8868442a274a1ac1_Bridgewater_symbol.jpg

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Omar Mohammedi, a board member with the Al Falah Center, said that although they wanted to make the Redwood Inn property work for building the first mosque in Bridgewater Township, members of the center are fine with a settlement reached with Bridgewater Township to instead build a mosque on a property on Route 202/206.

A settlement was reached between the two entities, and approved by the Bridgewater Township Council Monday, to allow the Al Falah Center to build a mosque on this new property, while the township will take control of the Redwood Inn property. Bridgewater will purchase a 15-acre property on Route 202/206 for a total of $2.75 million, with 5 acres to be used for open space, and 10.75 acres to be part of a land swap with Al Falah for the building of a mosque.

The exchange of property will occur after the Al Falah Center has obtained all approvals necessary to construct a mosque on the Route 202/206 property. According to a release from the Al Falah Center, the settlement provides that if approvals are not obtained, the preliminary injunction will be made permanent so that the Al Falah Center can pursue the construction of a mosque at the Redwood Inn property without reference to an ordinance approved in 2011 not allowing religious institutions to be build on residential roads.

Sign Up for E-News

In addition, as per the settlement, Al Falah has agreed to drop any claims for alleged damages, costs and attorney fees, in exchange for a payment of $5 million from the township insurers. The money can be used to help finance construction of the mosque.

And hearings for the construction of a mosque on the Redwood Inn property will be suspended.

"We were hoping to get something going on the Redwood Inn property," Mohammedi said. "But we are OK with this new property. This serves our purpose."

The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by the Al Falah Center in 2011 in the midst of an application the center had with the planning board for a mosque on Mountain Top Road. The township approved an ordinance while the application was in front of the planning board that said houses of worship would not be allowed on designated residential and other roads, including Mountain Top Road, and so the application was sent to the zoning board with a variance required.

According to a release from the Al Falah Center, the center sued the township and alleged violations of constitutional and statutory rights, while also alleging violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which protects religious institutions against discrimination and unlawful burdens on religious worship.

In September 2013, the federal courts ruled that the planning board was required to continue hearing the application for the mosque, and disregard the new ordinance. Hearings had been held since October 2013.

"We want to have a new chapter and move on with our lives," Mohammedi said.

Mohammedi said the building on Route 202/206 could prove to be easier for people driving to the mosque because of its access to multiple highways in the area.

Mohammedi said the center will move forward with putting together its new application for the mosque on Route 202/206, which will be submitted sometime around January or February.

"We have to make a complete new application," he said.

At this point, Mohammedi said, they are happy with the terms of the settlement and ready to move forward.

"We have suffered for four years, and we are really pleased and happy that we are moving to a new chapter," he said. "This will be great all around, and we hope this will speak volumes for the diversity in Bridgewater Township."

Peter Zimroth, attorney for the Al Falah Center, agreed that the settlement is satisfactory.

"My clients are very pleased with this settlement," he said. "Their goal has been to establish a mosque in Bridgewater. This settlement provides them with a property that can accommodate their religious needs and also a substantial payment that can be used to finance construction."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bridgewater/Raritan

New Jersey Association of School Librarians Urges BRRSD to Keep All Librarians

April 18, 2018

To the Editor:

The following letter was sent to the Bridgewater-Raritan school superintendent as well as members of the school board from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL).  

As the statewide organization for school library media specialists, the organization advocates for strong school library programs for all students.  NJASL is disheartened to learn that a ...

Car Fire in Wendy's Parking Lot Deemed Not Suspicious, Bridgewater Police Say

April 20, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township Police responded to a car fire in the parking lot of Wendy's, on Route 22 East April 9, but the fire was not deemed suspicious, according to a report.

According to the report, an unoccupied 2003 Infinity G35 caught fire. A 2010 Honda CRV, which was parked next to it, was also damaged in the fire.

North Branch and Green Knoll fire both ...

BAM Desserts Visits SCVTHS Culinary Arts Program

April 22, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Melissa Jenkins, one of the owners of BAM Desserts in Somerset, and Chef Liz Hernandez visited the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) culinary arts classes this week in hopes to recruit students for the growing bakery. 

Jenkins and Hernandez were looking for reliable students who were willing to learn new skills, get workplace ...

Whitehouse Wind Symphony Presents Free Concert in Somerville

April 22, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Whitehouse Wind Symphony, a community band under the direction of Branchburg resident James P. Sheeley, Jr., will present a free concert on Sunday, April 29th at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 158 West High St.

The concert will feature a wide range of selections from wind band literature both new and old, such as the overture to “Die Frau ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Bateman Bill to Require Training, Licensing for Pet Groomers

April 15, 2018

TRENTON, NJ - Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) will introduce legislation to increase protections for family pets by requiring pet groomers to be properly trained and licensed following the deaths of three dogs in five months at different New Jersey pet salons.

“It is sadly far too common for us to read of dog grooming deaths in the news,” said Bateman.