To fulfill his religious obligation, Rahway resident Hasan Thornton would drive to Plainfield or Irvington every Friday afternoon for the Muslim congregational prayer. But no more.
With the opening of the new mosque in Roselle, Thornton travels a few minutes to join a handful of other congregants in the area who are trying to build up a Muslim community.
"It's perfect for people who live in this county," Thornton said.
Mosque founder and imam Abdul Aleem Razzaqq is hoping more people feel that way.
The Muslim community in Roselle is relatively small, he said, but he wants to draw people from surrounding towns, including Linden, Rahway, Roselle Park, Cranford and Westfield. Razzaqq said the only other mosques he knows of in Union County are in Plainfield and Elizabeth.
"First and foremost, we want a building where we can establish the obligatory five daily prayers to be performed, (including) jum'ah," he said, using the Arabic word for Friday congregational prayer.
For the last seven Fridays, about a dozen men and women have come to an old American Legion building at 311 First Ave. to listen to a short sermon and join in prayer.