Proposed Mosque's Location, Funding Questioned

Residents also concerned about anticipated number of members.

on Tuesday heard a presentation on a proposed 4,200-square-foot mosque that would be built in place of an existing house at 124 Church St., followed by objections and questions from nearby residents.

At times, emotions ran high during the almost three-hour hearing, which was attended by about 50 people and a few Bernards Township police officers.

Ali Chaudry, a trustee and president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, had and public of then-plans to renovate a four-bedroom home on the property.

The formal application now before the board outlines a plan to demolish the older house and to replace it with a new 4,200-square-foot mosque. The new building, as presented, would include a multi-purpose room, a larger prayer room and other facilities that would allow it to serve as a house of worship, Sunday school for children and meeting place to "create bridges of understanding" with other clergy, Chaudry said.

The new design means that the application is not asking for a zoning variance for distance of the building from side-yard property boundaries, as required with the older home, said Vincent Bisogno, attorney for Chaudry.

The 4-acre property, already owned by the Islamic Society, is located in a residential neighborhood along Church Street in historic Liberty Corner requiring minimum lot sizes of at least two acres.

"Houses of worship are a permitted use in an R-2 zone and we meet all the requirements," Bisogno said. "We are not seeking any variances," he added.

Chaudry then described the center's proposed schedule of daily prayer services, to be held five times a day, that would begin about an hour before dawn and end with evening services that could be held about 9 or 9:30 p.m.

Chaudry said the most well-attended services would be from 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday, which might attract about 55 worshippers. Others likely would be sparsely attended, he said. Sunday school, to be attended by about 25 to 30 children, will be taught in late morning into early afternoon after which some children may wish to attend the Sunday afternoon service, he said.

Eventually, Chaudry said his "best guess" was that the temple eventually would have about 150 members within about 10 years, up from about 65 now.

He was asked by board professionals to investigate and report back to the board how he reach membership projections. Chaudry and professionals to testify about the proposal were given a return date before the Planning Board of Sept 4.

The Islamic Society's case being presented before the Planning Board will include an engineer, landscaper and archiect, besides Chaudry, according to comments at Tuesday night's meeting.

Board members tried to pin Chaudry down as to how many people might be expected to attend certain occasions. He said the number is expected to increase slowly. Members of the public asked whether having a new mosque would increase the membership, drawing Muslims from throughout the region.

Earlier this year, Chaudry said members of the Islamic Center rent space from the Bernards Township Community Center for worship, and also lease rooms at the to operate a Sunday school.

He said the group rents outside space for larger occasions. For example, he said a celebration at the end of Ramadan is held at a hotel, and would continue to be hosted there even if the building is constructed.

The first resident to ask questions about the proposal was Joseph Abbate of Somerville Road, who noted that the applicant had spoken about economizing back in January.

"What happened in that time between January and now," Abbate asked. "I want to know how your money situation change and it will change in the future."

Later during the hearings, Chaudry said the 10 "founders," families which share the mosque's vision, each year contribute about $40,000 to the Islamic Society, with most of the money going to the building fund.

He said the organization had obtained a loan to pay for part of the property purchase, and might need to borrow more for the construction of the mosque itself.

The attorney for the Planning Board, Stuart Koenig, pointed out that while the source of the Islamic Society's funding might be "interesting," it is not relevant to the board's consideration of the application.

Barbara Berger, a Church Street resident who said she is a former realtor, asked why the mosque had been planned for a location on a two-lane road in a "quaint village" rather than along major roads, like other established mosques in the area, including those off Route 1 and near Rutgers University. 

"This is where the need is," Chaudry said of a mosque he said will serve those who live and work in the Somerset Hills. He later said the founders come from Basking Ridge, Bernardsville, Bedminster, Warren and some other communities, such as Berkeley Heights and Watchung.

He also said that a mosque in Boonton, in Morris County, is on a smaller street off Main Street.

Another nearby resident, Tom Mahala, said he believes that adding a new mosque to the area would draw a regional crowd rather than just local worshippers.

Residents were advised at several times they would only be permitted to ask questions about Chaudry's testimony, and that they would need to wait until later in the hearing for a chance to offer opinions.

Some residents hired an attorney, Rob Simon of Warren, who said he was representing a non-profit organization, Bernards Township Citizens for Responsible Development.

Chaudry is a former mayor in the township who said he has lived in town for 35 years.

LC August 08, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Beverly and Emily - thank you for your thoughtful comments. Please consider attending the next meeting and encourage your neighbors to do so, too. Mr. Contractor is a mosque member and Mr. Marvi is totally uniformed regarding the true nature of Islam. I am not going to debate him on this thread as I have in the past, because he is like many other PC Americans, and that is what the Muslims are counting on. Mr. Contractor describes his group as "moderate," of course. However, there are some rather hateful Quran passages on the ISBRI's website - it is a known practice in Islam (called tacquiya) to conceal the truth from the infidel. Beverly - not only are memories of 9/11 "around the corner" as you say - do not lose sight that this chosen property is on CHURCH Street in LIBERTY Corner, across the street from the Fire Department's 9/11 Memorial. This is a victory mosque:http://www.goldcoastchronicle.com/feature/history-of-islam-and-how-they-build-victory-mosques%E2%80%A6/ They could have purchased a much more suitable property for their mosque, rather than in a quiet little hamlet like Liberty Corner.
LC August 08, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Oops - try the link here: http://www.goldcoastchronicle.com/feature/history-of-islam-and-how-they-build-victory-mosques%E2%80%A6/
sohail contractor August 09, 2012 at 01:17 AM
yes, here is a sample of what is on the ISBR website http://www.isbri.org/home.php?id=0&aid=43
LC August 09, 2012 at 01:30 AM
And another: http://www.isbri.org/book.php?chapmns=12&baddid=137
LC August 09, 2012 at 01:38 AM
LC August 09, 2012 at 01:43 AM
http://www.isbri.org/book.php?chapmns=30&baddid=298 I could go on and on, but I won't - it's too unpleasant a way to spend my evening.
Maurice Marvi August 09, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Sometimes, you just can't discuss with stupid.
n August 09, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Not that I have any love for the Saudi Arabians that hijacked the planes, but with your thinking, we still should be kicking Japs for bombing Pearl Harbor.
Linda Sadlouskos (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Has anyone been to the other mosques mentioned at the Planning Board meeting on Tuesday night? Say, the one in Boonton?
Concerned Citizen August 09, 2012 at 02:34 PM
How much does the mosque pay in property tax now, and what will they pay after the new construction? Oh, right, none! I think it's time to have all of these prime religious properties in Bernards Township (and everywhere else), start paying property taxes. Why should I pay for the maintenance of roads and other services for them?
n August 09, 2012 at 03:30 PM
@Concerned Citizen, I totally agree with you and I've spoken to it before. If there is a separation of church & state, then there is no reason why ANY religious properties shouldn't pay property taxes. I'm sure they expect to get public services that other tax payers have to pay for through property tax, so should they.
TJ August 09, 2012 at 03:57 PM
The Mosque discriminates women. Women are not allowed to prayer with the men. Ali Chaudry said at the meeting he is abiding by the laws and constitution of the US. As far as I know I am allowed to vote, work, freedom of speech, religion, etc... then I as a women should be allowed to pray in that mosque if it benefits the community but women are only allowed in at certain times. I can prayer at any church in this town wether it be Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc and not be turned away. Why would we want a mosque in Basking Ridge for a religion that discriminates women praying with men. In addition, they will be using the mosque 5 times a day, every day which would be a traffic nightmare for Liberty Corner. Ali Chaudry at the town meeting had no clear answer on what the projected growth is which I find it hard to believe since you don't build a 4000 sq structure for a few members.
Maurice Marvi August 09, 2012 at 04:41 PM
TJ, Join our religious brothers at an Orthodox, or Chasidic shul, and you will find the same thing. Men and women separated by a Mechitza, in order to stay Frum in accordance with the requirements of Negiya. Oh yeah, I haven't met a female Catholic priest, yet.
LC August 10, 2012 at 02:11 AM
If this mosque is built and turns out to be anything like some of the other mosques in NJ, we wil lalso be paying police to direct traffic. My boyfriend works near the mosque in Clifton and on Fridays the road is jammed with cars, so the town has to have police on traffic duty. Chaudry downplays (I'm being kind with my choice of words here) projected attendance because he knows the activity from this mosque will be objectionable and disruptive to Church Street and the surrounding neighborhood. He really expects us to believe that only 2 to 5 people will attend most prayers, with only 65 on Fridays? I went to Dunham Park a couple of weeks ago to observe their Jumma (Friday) prayer attendance. I counted 61 cars and at least 125 men, when the fire code allows only 60 in the field house. The mosque plan has about 50 parking spaces. More people will come once there is an official mosque, despite Choudry's "best guess" (his words) - where will they park? This is just wrong.
God bless America August 11, 2012 at 07:01 PM
comment to LC: for "In 638, Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem" Caliph Umar, was in the church in Jerusalem with the Bob, and Muslim prayer time happens so he execused th Bob to go and pray, the Bob offered him to pray in the church, so Caliph Umar responded "Although I can and I would LOVE to pray here, but if you allow me I prefer to pray outside next to the church so Muslims do not come after me and say this church is where Umar prayed", and he did pray outside next to church. Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem with ZERO people killed! isn't that amazing? I can answer all of those dates in your website, and most of my answers will be what I have learned by Muslims in Muslim countries, where there is no need to hide the truth as you said to show the moderation! Thank you
God bless America August 11, 2012 at 07:13 PM
again to LC: I do not think Muslims hide the truth and you proved it, why would they put those verses on their own website for public? what you might not know that Quran verses are reveleaed in occasions, which can not be separated from the text itself. those verses not talking about christians generally they are talking about incidents happened. what you do not know also is NOT all quran verses applies to all times and all places Thanks
Yulia Goggi August 25, 2012 at 11:10 PM
"O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust." I'm not affiliated with any religion, but as a resident of Liberty Corner, I refuse to welcome anyone whose beliefs condone and worship such statements.
EME May 01, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Thank you "God bless America" for such supportive comments. It is absolutely permissible for a believing woman to offer her prayers in the mosques if she wishes to do so, but it is better for them to pray in their houses rather than to attend congregational prayers in the mosques. for more details please visit: http://www.islamhelpline.com/node/2855 http://islamicvoice.com/June2005/QuestionHour-DrZakirNaik/
Lily Darcey May 12, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Please watch this video before you decide to build a mosque. Watch it all the way through. It is very informative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2u9BNpLThqA
Lily Darcey May 12, 2013 at 11:31 PM
LC you are very wise. Clearly, those who are naively allowing this mosque to be built will pay in the long run. In the end times, even the most learned will be deceived. Here is this video of a Muslim who will tell you the future plans for Islam all over the world, especially the west. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2u9BNpLThqA
Lily Darcey May 12, 2013 at 11:44 PM
KORAN commands to kill infidels: Allah is an enemy to unbelievers. - Sura 2:98 On unbelievers is the curse of Allah. - Sura 2:161 Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. - 2:191 Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme. (different translation: ) Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely. - Sura 2:193 and 8:39 Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. - 2:216 (different translation: ) Prescribed for you is fighting, though it is hateful to you. ..... martyrs.... Enter heaven - Surah 3:140-43 If you should die or be killed in the cause of Allah, His mercy and forgiveness would surely be better than all they riches they amass. If you should die or be killed, before Him you shall all be gathered. - 3:157-8 You must not think that those who were slain in the cause of Allah are dead. They are alive, and well-provided for by their Lord. - Surah 3:169-71 Let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fights in the cause of God, whether he is slain or victorious, soon we shall give him a great reward. - Surah 4:74 Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil. - 4:76 But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them. - 4:89
Lily Darcey May 12, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Therefore, we stirred among them enmity and hatred, which shall endure till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will declare to them all that they have done. - 5:14 O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people. - 5:54 Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme - 8:39 O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there are 20 steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish 200; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding. - 8:65 It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he has made slaughter in the land. - 8:67 Allah will humble the unbelievers. Allah and His apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshipers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers. - 9:2-3
Lily Darcey May 12, 2013 at 11:47 PM
When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. - 9:5 Believers! Know that idolators are unclean. - 9:28 Fight those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, nor what has been forbidden by God and his messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are People of the Book, until they pay the tribute and have been humbled. - 9:29 (another source: ) The unbelievers are impure and their abode is hell. (another source: ) Humiliate the non-Muslims to such an extent that they surrender and pay tribute. Whether unarmed or well-equipped, march on and fight for the cause of Allah, with your wealth and your persons. - 9:41 O Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end. - 9:73 Allah has purchased of their faithful lives and worldly goods, and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for His cause, kill and be killed. - 9:111 Fight unbelievers who are near to you. 9:123 (different translation: Believers! Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Let them find harshness in you. (another source: ) Ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers....
Lily Darcey May 12, 2013 at 11:47 PM
As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will not allow their works to perish. He will vouchsafe them guidance and ennoble their state; He will admit them to the Paradise He has made known to them. - 10:4-15 Allah has cursed the unbelievers and proposed for them a blazing hell. - 33:60 Unbelievers are enemies of Allah and they will roast in hell. - 41:14 When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds, then set them free, either by grace or ransom, until the war lays down its burdens. - 47:4 (different translation: ) When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Those who are slain in the way of Allah - he will never let their deeds be lost. Soon will he guide them and improve their condition, and admit them to the Garden, which he has announced for them. - 47:5 Muslims are harsh against the unbelievers, merciful to one another. - 48:25 Muhammad is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. Through them, Allah seeks to enrage the unbelievers. - 48:29
Lily Darcey May 12, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their home, evil their fate. - 66:9 The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of hell. They are the vilest of all creatures. - 98:51
LC May 12, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Interesting to note, Lily, that ISBR had many of these hateful Quran verses on their website but removed them once I alerted folks to check them out. Now, if you want to read Quran verses through the ISBR website, you are taken to an external link. Thank you for your input.
Lily Darcey May 12, 2013 at 11:57 PM
b flake May 13, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Does Liberty Corner want to welcome friends of Dzhokar and Tumerlon Tsarnaev? Not so sure of that, Basking Ridge has already been hit hard by those that hate America.
Lily Darcey May 13, 2013 at 12:41 AM
b flake, people are being lulled into a false sense of confidence that islam is a religion of peace, but it is not, by any means. All the Koran's scripture I posted above, if it has not been deleted, come straight from the Koran. Let me share this video with you, and share it with your friends. This man is an apostate of Islam. He will tell you what sort of future Islam truly has planned for the western world. Look at the article I posted from prophecy news above also. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2u9BNpLThqA
Maurice Marvi May 13, 2013 at 12:59 AM
LC, Ms Darcey My parents both grew up as Non Muslims in an Islamic country. While there was anti Semitism in the area, they did not encounter anything like they found in the United States. In Iran, the Shah's emissary even visited with my grandafther in the (Jewish) school he ran. Of course, with the takeover of Iran by a medieval Islamic leadership, it is a different case. However, I am embarrassed as a US citizen to read and hear this hateful medieval speech. Does the Koran have passages that are difficult to take. Yes. How about the Bible? There is much within it that makes me cringe. Do we still stone adulterers? Nope. In some states we elect them to the US House of Representatives. How about the Crusaders and Inquisitors? You really want to make a Muslim angry? Visit his dorm room as part of "Campus Crusade for Christ". The useful idiots I saw in college had no idea what that word means to a Muslim. I'm amazed they didn't get the "Book of Mormon" treatment with their leaflets. You want to really piss off a Jew? Tell them the "Other" is dangerous and should not be allowed the freedoms the constitution grants towards all. We have seen blood libel from Peter Minuit to Bishop Sheen to the Neo Nazis of today. The references to September 11, 2001, and "Victory Mosques" are ridiculous. They are the Blood Libel of today. I am running out of space and patience. A final word. Costco has Tin Foil on sale. They make great hats.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »