Southern Baptists, Sikhs and Hare Krishnas Say New Jersey Mosque Should Be Approved

“I came to America almost 50 years ago with a firm belief in the values that America represents, including freedom of religion and equality before the law,” said Mohammad Ali Chaudry, the founding and current president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge. (Photo coutesy of the Becket Fund)
“I came to America almost 50 years ago with a firm belief in the values that America represents, including freedom of religion and equality before the law,” said Mohammad Ali Chaudry, the founding and current president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge. (Photo coutesy of the Becket Fund)

Southern Baptists, Sikhs and Hare Krishnas have told a federal court they think a proposal to erect a New Jersey mosque should be approved.

A planning board denied the application of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge in December.

The board held 39 public hearings as the society sought approval for four years, said the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed an amicus brief on Wednesday (May 11). The society designed the proposed mosque to look like a house — with minarets that resemble chimneys — so that it would blend into the neighborhood.

“A Muslim mosque cannot be subjected to a different land-use approval process than a Christian church simply because local protesters oppose the mosque,” reads the brief from almost 20 religious and civil rights groups. The groups added that “such unequal treatment of the mosque in this case represents a potential threat” to their free exercise rights.

Groups joining the brief include the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the Sikh Coalition, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and the National Association of Evangelicals.

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Adelle M. Banks

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