Members of Bronx mosque claim leader unfairly shut the door on them
Members of a Bronx mosque say they are left without a place to pray during the most sacred month of the year, Ramadan.
Worshippers of Baitul Maamur Jame Masjid in Westchester Square mosque claim they donated hundreds of thousands of dollars 20 years ago to buy the property as a place of worship.
Shahid Chaudhry spoke to News 12 on behalf of the mosque. He says it is actually the leader's home.
"He runs the masjid. It's pretty much your house and you turn it into a mosque or a church," Chaudhry said.
He claims because of the diversity, there are different interpretations of the Quran which has led to internal conflict.
"So, you're running it and these people are telling him, 'No, this is the way it should be run.' And then there's a lot of controversy with the nationalities: Bengalis, Pakistanis, and Indian,' he says.
However, members of the mosque claim the leader shut the door on them after they challenged his authority and transparency. They alleged that they've never seen paperwork nor documents for the house and demanded new leadership.
Public documents show the deed for the property is for a corporation in the mosque's name.
Michael Resnick, the lawyer for the group of worshippers, says the current leadership is treating the mosque like a private corporation.
"When in fact this is a religious corporation that has to be governed by New York State law which requires elections and financial auditing and accountability and good governance," Resnick says.
Until something gets resolved, members are left observing iftar, which is the time to break their Ramadan fast, outside.
Last week, the owner removed signage from the property which informed that the building was a mosque.
On Monday, new signage was put up, as well as additional signs, saying that all are welcome to come inside to pray.
Although, Chaudhry says 15 people are banned from the mosque.