Mosque Gets Franklin Township Approval

June 11, 2006

Source: The Star-Ledger

On June 11, 2006 The Star-Ledger reported, "Franklin Township officials have approved the first official mosque in Somerset County in a ranch home that has quietly served as a house of worship for local Muslims for the past several years. Sandwiched between two neatly kept homes in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, the somewhat worn-looking one-story house on Churchill Avenue doesn't look like a local zoning success story. But it is, considering the challenges other houses of worship have faced winning approvals in residential areas in the county. 'We're absolutely thrilled,' said Ibrahim Conteh, one of the imams at the Da'awatu Islamia of Somerset mosque. 'We've been fighting for this for quite some time.' Conteh, a native of Freetown in Sierra Leone, lives in the neighborhood. He and other founders initially met for pray and religious study at each other's homes. But as attendance outgrew living rooms, the need for a local mosque became evident and they purchased the Churchill Avenue residence eight years ago, mosque chairman Brima Rahman said. A handful of members attend daily prayers, but attendance peaks for the Friday midday prayer when 30 to 45 worshippers arrive. Most make time on their lunch breaks and return to work. The Franklin Township Board of Adjustment voted 6-1 Thursday to allow Da'awatu Islamia of Somerset to use the house as a mosque."