Groundbreaking Planned for Hunterdon Mosque of New Jersey

Groundbreaking Planned for Hunterdon Mosque of New Jersey
(Wednesday, September 7, 2016) 14:36

A groundbreaking for Hunterdon’s first mosque is planned for Sept. 24.

The mosque will be built at the corner of Route 12 and Autumn Leaf Drive here. Yaser ElMenshawy told the county Freeholders in a letter that the two-hour ceremony is expected to begin at 2 p.m. and 100 to 150 people are expected to attend. A rain date has been set for Oct. 1.

The mosque will be built by Islamic Center of Hunterdon County, which was established in 2005. It currently has a religious center on Mine Street in Flemington. A Sunday school with about 60 students meets at Hunterdon Central High School, according to the application filed for the mosque.

 According to its website, aside from being a regular place to pray, the mosque offers educational services for its members, including Quranic and schooling for children and adults. One of its objectives is to “help Muslims practice Islam as a belief, a behavior, and a way of life, and invite people to the cause of Allah,” the website states, and encourage members to “to follow the example of the righteous early Muslims.”

The mosque, which has approval from the township Planning Board, would be about 13,000 square feet in size, divided evenly between the main level and basement. A standalone tower, called a minaret, will be about 45 feet tall and 36 square feet. Another 43,000 square feet will be used for the parking lot and driveway.

The mosque will be used every day. During the application and approval process, ElMenshawy explained to the Planning Board that it will hold prayers five times a day – at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset and evening. The times of the prayers will vary by season because they are dictated by movement of the sun, and most of the prayers last five to 10 minutes each.

The biggest prayer of the week is the midday Friday prayer, which is expected to attract around 75 participants and last 35 to 40 minutes.

The mosque was approved by the Planning Board about two years ago. The center bought the land from the Ubel family in 2010 for $325,000.

The mosque may not be Hunterdon’s newest house of worship for long. The non-profit Sanathana Dharma Foundation plans a Hindu house of worship for land it owns on Barley Sheaf Road. The application for that facility is incomplete, according to township planner Jamie Sunyak.

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