Tuesday, December 8, 2015
To: The Planning Board of Bernards Township
1 Collyer Lane
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
Members: Barbara Kleinert, Jeffrey Plaza, Jodi Alper, John Malay, Kippy Piedici, Leon Harris, Louis, Carlucci, Mary Pavlini, Paula Axt, and Randy Santoro.
Dear Planning Board Members:
I am writing to you as the President of the Interfaith Council in Summit, NJ. Our Council has been working with Ali Chaudry and the Islamic Center of Basking Ridge for many years. Many of our members also work with Mr. Chaudry on the Interfaith Council in New Providence.
Over the years, we have greatly valued the presence of Mr. Chaudry and his Islamic Center in our area. Consistently, they have been a voice for religious tolerance, interfaith engagement, and caring work in our community. They are working peacefully to help bring down the walls that have divided us as neighbors. Our relationship with the Islamic Center is a great value to our larger community, and we are invested in insuring that they remain a part of our larger interfaith community. Quite simply, they are an asset.
We understand that you are deciding tonight whether or not to allow a mosque to be built there. We want to share with you our strong support of the mosque.
In a time when the news shares more about the fear and hatred that divides us, we know that, in reality, our communities are places where people live peacefully, work together across dividing lines, and help their neighbors even when we may not necessarily understand one another. This is what we experience in relationship with Islamic Center of Basking Ridge: Friendship. Neighbors. Partners in Community.
If the mosque is denied a place, we won’t have access to relationships that change our hearts and our minds. Then, the news of fear and division will rule the day. We pray that you will have the courage to not give into fear and to allow a great community of people to become our neighbors. Please say yes.
The Rev. Emilie Boggis
Summit Interfaith Council