WBEZ | mosque http://www.wbez.org/tags/mosque Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en DuPage County reverses decision on mosque http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/dupage-county-reverses-decision-mosque-107850 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/DuPage Mosque (1)_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>DuPage County has reversed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/dupage-board-denies-petition-turn-house-mosque-98954" target="_blank">an earlier decision on a zoning petition by a Muslim group</a>, and will now allow the Islamic Center of Western Suburbs to conduct worship services in a single-family residence near west suburban Bartlett. The reconsideration of the group&rsquo;s petition came per order of federal magistrate judge Sheila Finnegan, as part of a negotiated settlement between the two parties.</p><p>&ldquo;&lsquo;They didn&rsquo;t vote right,&rsquo; that&rsquo;s what the judge said, &lsquo;You got to do it over, do it right,&rsquo;&rdquo; fumed Jacqueline Sitkiewicz, after the 10-7 vote in favor of the petitioner was tallied. &ldquo;Why have a county board, then? Just abolish it and when you have an issue, go right to the judge.&rdquo;</p><p>Sitkiewitz and her husband, whose home sits directly next to the ICWS property, were among many neighbors who voiced opposition during the public comment portion of the county board meeting. Many said that the proposed use, which would allow up to 166 people to visit each day, would overwhelm its septic capacity. They also said that plans to pave over portions of the property for a parking lot would result in stormwater flooding, and that traffic on the already-busy Army Trail Road would become more dangerous.</p><p>But this time around, commissioners had additional information about each of those points from the county&rsquo;s own agencies, which assessed the septic, stormwater flow and traffic conditions at the site.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/muslim-group-sues-dupage-county-over-zoning-denial-101471" target="_blank">The ICWS sued DuPage County in federal court last year</a> claiming discrimination after it failed to win its conditional use bid. But the county recently <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/muslim-group-claims-win-dupage-mosque-dispute-106420" target="_blank">lost a similar federal case</a> with another Islamic group, the Irshad Learning Center. That prompted the ICWS and DuPage County to pursue a settlement in their case.</p><p>ICWS still seeks damages and attorneys fees in their case, an issue that was not discussed at Tuesday&rsquo;s board meeting. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think the case is mooted because of the zoning approval today,&rdquo; said Mark Daniel, attorney for ICWS. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s one major step in the direction of getting this resolved. The biggest step, actually, but it&rsquo;s not the full route that we have to take.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef" target="_blank">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 08:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/dupage-county-reverses-decision-mosque-107850 Despite federal order, DuPage delays decision on mosque http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/despite-federal-order-dupage-delays-decision-mosque-107649 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/DuPage Mosque.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In an unexpected move, the DuPage County Board put off a vote Tuesday morning to comply with a federal order that would allow a mosque to be built near Naperville. The Irshad Learning Center <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/muslim-group-claims-win-dupage-mosque-dispute-106420">recently won several major points in a lawsuit</a> it filed after the board denied permission in 2009 to use a residential lot for worship and gathering purposes.</p><p>&ldquo;We embrace the order, we respect the order, we will carry out the order,&rdquo; said County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. &ldquo;However, we would like to convey to the judge a concern about our process and what we feel is our duty.&rdquo;</p><p>In particular, Cronin said Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer&rsquo;s decision not only to reverse the board&rsquo;s past action, but also to instruct the board to revisit the issue, caused concern.</p><p>&ldquo;Whether the judge can direct the county or direct the agency, direct the building department,... or direct a county board member to vote differently from what his conscience would dictate... may not seem like a big difference for a lot of people,&rdquo; Cronin said, &ldquo;but for this body that takes their job very seriously, we&rsquo;d at least like to have a discussion with the judge about that.&rdquo;</p><p>Cronin said the board&rsquo;s attorney&rsquo;s will reach out to Judge Pallmeyer to ask if they might implement the order without taking another vote on the matter.</p><p>&ldquo;The issue here is that you have some legislators on the board that have a problem with being ordered by a court to vote a certain way on a certain proposal,&rdquo; said County Board Member Tony Michaelassi. Michaelassi supported the Irshad Learning Center&rsquo;s bid for conditional zoning use when the board voted on it previously.</p><p>&ldquo;So if we can get the decision enacted in some way that doesn&rsquo;t require a vote by the board, but instead we could comply with the order without the board taking a legally binding vote, that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re looking for,&rdquo; he added.</p><p>A lawyer from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which represents the Irshad Center, said he hopes the board receives an answer soon.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef </a>and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 17:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/despite-federal-order-dupage-delays-decision-mosque-107649 DuPage Board to vote on mosque near Bartlett http://www.wbez.org/culture/religion/dupage-board-vote-mosque-near-bartlett-98918 <p><p>DuPage County’s Board of Commissioners Tuesday will consider whether a house near west suburban Bartlett can be used as a mosque.</p><p>The petition to get land use approvals to allow the Islamic Center of Western Suburbs onto the single-family property has stoked controversy in that neighborhood for several years. Many neighbors and county officials have been concerned about whether the property can accommodate up to 30 people gathering at once, several times a day.</p><p>ICWS is just one of several mosques that the Board has had to consider recently, but attorney Mark Daniel, who represents the petitioners, says this proposal has taken longer to win approval than the others. “It’s been in the zoning pipeline in one form or another for about four years,” said Daniel.</p><p>County officials have been particularly concerned about whether the property’s septic tank and stormwater drain systems will be able to accommodate the more intensive use. There was also a delay in the zoning process because members of the congregation were using the house for worship gatherings before the space was legally zoned for that use. Daniel says that’s no longer the case.</p></p> Tue, 08 May 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/culture/religion/dupage-board-vote-mosque-near-bartlett-98918 DuPage board approves Muslim project, sans dome http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-board-approves-muslim-project-sans-dome-91948 <p><p>DuPage County's board has given the go-ahead for a new Muslim community center to be built, but without a dome to cover its religious worship space. &nbsp;The Pin Oak Community Center is slated for construction on an unincorporated residential plot near west suburban Lombard. The plans include&nbsp;a mosque, gymnasium, and office space.</p><p>Attorney Mark Daniel, who represents Pin Oak, says Pin Oak's founders may try to apply once more for permission to build the 50-foot high dome. "It's an important part of any mosque," said Daniel. "They've got centuries of history." This is the second Muslim development in unincorporated DuPage County that has recently modified construction plans because the board denied approval for a dome.</p><p>The county sets a height limit of 36 feet in residential areas, and only grants variances to exceed that limit on a case-by-case basis. The Muslim Educational and Cultural Center of America, or MECCA, was the last Muslim project to find its application for height variances denied. MECCA, to be constructed near the Village of Willowbrook, has appealed that decision.</p></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 22:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-board-approves-muslim-project-sans-dome-91948 When it’s not Islamophobia; Muslims self-examine http://www.wbez.org/story/when-it%E2%80%99s-not-islamophobia-muslims-self-examine-86425 <p><p>Suburban Chicago’s Muslim population’s growing and, in many ways, integrating into existing communities. &nbsp;</p><div style="background-color: transparent;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Their children play on the same soccer teams as non-Muslims... parents are friendly and may even be Facebook friends.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But Chicago area Muslims are having a hard time integrating their houses of worship and their schools into the suburban landscape.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Some blame Islamophobia.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But one Chicago-area Muslim is asking his community... maybe it’s not them... maybe it’s </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">us.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">HUSSAIN: Al Hamidullah... (prayer in Arabic) (fade under)</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Attorney Faiyaz Hussain gathered dozens of men and women in the basement of the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park, about 30 minutes west of Chicago.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&lt;sound up on prayer&gt;</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hussain is with the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, or CIOGC.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">He’s convened what he’s calling a “Not in my Back Yard” zoning summit to talk about a trend:</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A Muslim group wants to build or expand a mosque or a school. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The local government denies the petition on a zoning technicality.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Some Muslims feel like their community is under attack.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But Hussain wants them to consider something new: maybe they’re partly to blame.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">HUSSAIN: If there’s Islamophobia, we will certainly fight it. Similarly, I think that we then also need to take a step back and not... we shouldn’t go down the path of Islamophobia too quickly, because there may be some very well-intentioned, well-meaning &nbsp;public officials who are simply trying to do their job.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hussain remembers what got him to first consider the hard questions... </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">He was on his morning commute to Chicago, chatting with older ladies on the train. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">HUSSAIN: One of them, a lady that’s known me for two or three years, was sort of one day talking about this project that was going on. She’s like, ‘Oh Faiyaz’ -- and I’ve known her, I’ve talked about her kids, her grandkids, I know the whole story. And she tells me, ‘Faiyaz, you don’t know these people who are moving in, they’re trying to put in this temple, and I don’t know what’s going on, I’m afraid they may have bombs,’ </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It turned out she was talking about MECCA, the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America... a project proposed in DuPage County.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">HUSSAIN: I looked at myself thinking I’ve been riding the train with her for three or four years, I probably haven’t done a good job explaining who we are as Muslims, and here she was thinking MECCA... And I was just shaking my head thinking, ‘wow.’</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MECCA recently won approval to build a school, worship space, and recreational center.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It was a long fight... but one that Hussain hopes others will learn from.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MECCA members put lots of time into meeting one-on-one with county officials.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tony Michaelassi is a county board member... he says putting that personal face on a petition helps push it through the process:</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MICHAELASSI: when it comes to DuPage County, we like to hear from the community itself, we like to hear testimony from the members of the organization that’s petitioning us.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Michaelassi says small groups often make the mistake of taking a purely legalistic approach. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They rely on expensive lawyers to present their case... when it’s just as important for the petitioners themselves to show up, network, and make themselves known. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">One group that’s learned this lesson is the Muslim Community Center School in north suburban Morton Grove.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">School Chairman Rizwan Kadir says when the group sought zoning approval in the late 80s, it hit a wall of opposition from neighbors.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">KADIR: If they knew us at a personal level, things would have been a lot different.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Kadir says school administrators and parents have worked hard since then to let the neighbors know them.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They have open houses. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They let neighborhood kids play in school fields. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">And the school’s a polling place during elections. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Kadir hopes all that will help him fix what he considers a major compromise that the school had to make.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">KADIR: We could not have a high school right now. So we are strategizing our plan in how to approach the village in getting rid of some of these restrictions.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Kadir feels confident that by now, the school’s relationship with its neighbors is good enough to make this an easy win.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But he won’t know for sure until he submits his requests...sometime this summer.</span></div></p> Thu, 12 May 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/when-it%E2%80%99s-not-islamophobia-muslims-self-examine-86425 DuPage County approves mosque http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-county/dupage-county-approves-mosque-84091 <p><p>The Dupage County Board has approved a proposal to build a mosque in unincorporated Willowbrook.</p><p>Backers of the mosque had been struggling to get their proposal through the Dupage County Board for several months. Today, they jumped over their biggest hurdle when the Board voted 13 to 5 allowing the mosque to be built in west suburbs.</p><p>The group is called the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, or MECCA.&nbsp;</p><p>Dupage Board member Rita Gonzalez of the 1st district voted in favor of the plan.&nbsp;She says MECCA went above and beyond in their proposal.</p><p>&quot;MECCA is going to be putting in an estimated $600,000 to deal with certain issue that are actually going to benefit the neighborhood as opposed to had some developer come in and put in other buildings or homes on that land. This benefit would not occur for the neighborhood,&quot; she said.</p><p>MECCA plans to move out of their current commercial office space.&nbsp;The group can now apply for a building permit to proceed with the project.</p><p><em>A correction has been made to this story.<br /></em></p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated whether the most current MECCA proposal included a minaret and dome. The DuPage County Board approved a project without either of these.</em></p></p> Tue, 22 Mar 2011 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-county/dupage-county-approves-mosque-84091 DuPage zoning board rejects mosque proposal http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-county/dupage-zoning-board-rejects-mosque-proposal <p><div>DuPage County's zoning board has denied a second Muslim group its approval to build a mosque in as many months. The Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, or MECCA, wants to tear down a house on five acres of unincorporated DuPage County, and build a new structure for worship.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Center&rsquo;s bid failed 5-2. Zoning board members in the majority said they were concerned about having too many religious institutions in that part of the county. &nbsp;&ldquo;I just haven't seen it in 16 years of practice, where oversaturation has become an issue,&rdquo; said Mark Daniel, attorney representing MECCA. &ldquo;It's almost as if there's a suspension of the zoning ordinance for an application, which is something that you really can't have in these processes.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>While MECCA members say they are baffled by the board&rsquo;s decision, they haven&rsquo;t given up hope on the project. The proposal still goes to the county&rsquo;s Development Committee next month. The committee could either take or reject the zoning board&rsquo;s recommendation.</div> <p>In December, the DuPage County&rsquo;s zoning board denied approval for another group, the Islamic Center of the Western Suburbs.&nbsp;That group wants to convert a house near West Chicago into a mosque.&nbsp;At the same time, DuPage County is also considering a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-zoning-proposal-land-use-or-islamophobia">controversial amendment</a> to its zoning ordinance which would ban all new places of assembly &ndash; including religious institutions -- from unincorporated residential parts of the county.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 14 Jan 2011 22:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-county/dupage-zoning-board-rejects-mosque-proposal Year in Review: Top Religion Stories of 2010 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/year-review-top-religion-stories-2010 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/church.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Alison Cuddy hosted a roundtable discussion reviewing the top religion stories of the year. She was joined by Chicago Tribune religion reporter <a target="_blank" href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/religion_theseeker/">Manya Brachear</a> and DePaul University religious studies professor <a target="_blank" href="http://scottpaeth.typepad.com/main/">Scott Paeth</a>. <br /><br />They started the conversation with a review of how news of a Mosque near New York City's Ground Zero quickly spread to the rest of the country-and had effects right here in Chicago.&nbsp;They also discussed Chicago's history as a rich interfaith society, and the how problems with the Catholic Church might affect congregants in the future.</p></p> Wed, 22 Dec 2010 14:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/year-review-top-religion-stories-2010