Parsippany, NJ – The Muslim Association of New Jersey (MANJ) is celebrating the opening of their new mosque, which is built entirely out of disposed date pits. Community members are lauding the successful construction project as both innovative and environment-friendly.
Haris Adeeb, president of MANJ, said he got the idea when he slipped on a cluster of date pits during one of the community’s iftar events, leaving one pit permanently lodged in his forehead.
“Every year we’re stuck with industrial-sized piles of thrown-out date pits,” said Adeeb, who is an immigrant of Morocco. “When I hit my head on the floor, I could have gotten angry – but instead I got serious… about date pits.”
Mosque officials consulted with architects and engineers, many of which refused to participate in the project citing structural concerns.
The 11,000 square foot building required nearly 10 million date pits to construct. Every year, the community generates only 8 million date pits, leaving a 2 million date-pit-deficit. Officials had to turn to the community to fundraise the additional seed count.
For two weeks straight, Adeeb implored congregations to raise pit counts by reaching deep into their pockets and fish out any random date pits.
Long time congregant Jameel Wallace, made a pledge to eat 10,000 dates over the course of two iftars.
“All I remember is chewing, spitting, chewing, spitting, chewing, spitting,” said the generous Wallace who sprained his jaw in the process.
The project suffered more than a few glitches including a leaky roof, swarms of fruit flies and the persistent odor of Ramadan breath emanating from the date pits. The community has dubbed the main room, the “Prayer Hall-itosis.”
“Brother Fareed forgot to wash the date pits before we used them for construction,” said a resentful Adeeb. “Which doesn’t surprise me, because he NEVER washes his pits, if you know what I mean.”
Another feature at the new mosque is the Imam’s “Pul-pit” – a lectern made from exotic Mejool date pits.
The community is expected to host an official opening ceremony at the end of Ramadan, but no final date has been announced (no pun intended).