To the Editor:
In the Feb. 28 Bayonne Community News, I read a letter from a person who opposed the opening of the Muslim Community Center. I don’t have anything to say to that person, but am writing this to my Muslim friends, coworkers, and neighbors who live in Bayonne:
First, thank you for the civil behavior you demonstrated at the two Zoning Board hearings I was able to attend. It is nice to know that there are many dignified and respectful people in Bayonne. I want to compliment especially some of the young Muslim women who spoke at the hearings. Your intelligence and insight were evident. Thanks also for offering us water as the hearings dragged out; that was very neighborly of you.
Second, congratulations! I am happy that now you can open this center for your community. I am sorry you had to file a federal lawsuit to do it. But that is what Americans do; we stand up for our rights when necessary. Bayonne is lucky that it will not have to pay $3.25 million, as Basking Ridge, NJ must. It is unfortunate that the Zoning Board did not vote in accordance with the facts presented (particularly the facts in the traffic study). The Zoning Board’s unfairness cost Bayonne $400,000. I hope that in future Mayor Jimmy Davis appoints people to that board who are impartial. I hope he appoints a prominent Muslim from your community to the board, since you now have expertise in zoning issues.
Third, please know that not all people in Bayonne are bigots. Many of us are embarrassed by what happened to you, and we attended the hearings to support you.
Finally, in future, when you hold your open houses, I look forward to visiting your mosque. Good luck!
DONNA M. FARINA