Battle of New Jersey mosque parking


The fight played out in Bernards Township, and the mosque's attorney called the decision a "landmark ruling."

Nadim Ahmed is a Bernards Township resident and a member of the Muslim Community. He said the closest mosque is about 30 minutes away.

"This property is about 5 minutes from where I live," he said.

 A federal judge ruled Saturday that requiring a mosque to have more parking than a church or a synagogue is unconstitutional. It had been an issue around the New Jersey town.

A battle that started about 4 years ago, the Islamic Society attempted to find a permanent space for worship and was met by heavy opposition. 

"It would enable my whole family to partake in the services. It’ll allow us to exercise our amendment rights. It’d be fantastic were approved," said Ahmed.

The mosque sued when the plan was rejected in December of 2015 after nearly 40 board meetings.

The primary reason was a parking requirement.

The US district court judge Michael Shipp's decision that a different standard was being applied to the mosque was viewed by Ahmed and other as a victory for the Islamic Society.

Lead counsel for plaintiff released a statement, which in part it read, “This is a landmark ruling interpreting the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act that will have national impact in reaffirming that Townships cannot treat applicants differently based on their religion."

The mayor of Bernards Township, Carol Bianchi released a statement saying, “The Township vehemently disagrees with the court’s decision.”

“As Americans, as Muslim Americans, we are asking for the same right to build places of worship. We’re not asking for any special treatment. We’re asking for the same thing as everybody else,” said Ahmed.

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