Muslim group sues Bridgewater, claims town illegally changed zoning laws to block mosque

Bridgewater, New Jersey — A group of Somerset County Muslims is suing the township, alleging it illegally changed its zoning laws to block them from renovating a vacant banquet hall into a mosque and community center, according to court papers.

“What should have been an uncomplicated approval of the application then foundered in a storm of anti-Muslim sentiment and hysteria,” stated the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Trenton.

Worshippers associated with the mosque, called alFalah Center, sought to renovate the vacant Redwood Inn on Mountaintop Road. But the proposal led to concerns about traffic safety in the area, and the township passed an ordinance last month barring houses of worship from being constructed on residential streets – effectively blocking the mosque’s construction at that location.

Star-Ledger, 27 April 2011