Aug. 3 marked a historic and joyous occasion for the Muslim community of East Brunswick as they celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony of their expanded new mosque.
The event was attended by several township officials, community and founding members.
The Islamic Center of East Brunswick (ICEB) is situated across the Oak Creek Village, near CVS at Ryders Lane at 402 New Brunswick Ave.
The proposed 11,000-square-foot building will have an assembly and prayer area, multi-purpose room, offices, and accommodation for the Imam.
Plans call for a parking lot with 95 spaces on almost 2-acre-lot.
Speaking on this occasion, Imam Rehaan emphasized and underlined the importance of places of worship, saying, “The most blessed places on this earth are the masajids, the places of worship. … These places bring out the best of us … (and) … God’s special mercy descends on these placed. … These are known to be the house of Allah or God. … They no longer belong to any human being …. rather they are going to the ownership of Allah – the Almighty.”
Mayor Brad Cohen relayed the messages of harmony, peace and good wishes.
“As a representative of the community and as a representative of my own faith … one of the greatest things you could do as a human is to create a home. … (This home) should be a place of peace, it should be a place where we celebrate great triumph … so on behalf of the township we wish you the greatest of luck and may Allah look down upon your new home and provide you with a place of health, well-being and luck.”
The president of ICEB, Faheem Soherwardy, concluded the ceremony by sincerely thanking everyone for their counsel and guidance.
“Thanks for everyone’s help and especially Mayor Brad, you and the whole township have been very helpful to us, the planning board, the zoning board and the other officers in the building inspection. … We can’t say enough ‘thank you’s to you guys.”
The journey of ICEB, initially called IQRA Community Services, began in 2004 when a handful of congregants started praying in the East Brunswick Congregational Church under arrangements made with Pastor Robert Moore, his associates and congregants.
In 2010, IQRA Community Service purchased the building and made the arrangements with the incumbent Christian community to continue to pray in the center.
In 2016, in order to cater the needs of a burgeoning Muslim community, ICEB applied for the expansion of the facility with the township. After securing all the necessary and relevant approvals, the township approved the plan in 2018.
Planning for the construction of the mosque began immediately and took another 3 years to collect the necessary funds to begin the construction.
Construction of this mosque will help achieve the vision of ICEB congregants to have an Islamic center to build bridges, host interfaith colloquiums, enhance community services (soup kitchen, blood bank, food drives, high school scholarships, etc.), and expand social engagements (Thanksgiving lunch, July 4th and Eid gift baskets and cake, and breakfast/lunch meetings).
* This information was provided by Saud Asif, founding member and former general secretary of ICEB.