WBEZ | MECCA http://www.wbez.org/tags/mecca Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en DuPage denies mosque’s request for tall minaret and dome http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-denies-mosque%E2%80%99s-request-tall-minaret-and-dome-97260 <p><p>DuPage County’s board has denied a request from a developer of an incoming mosque to add a dome and minaret that would exceed the county’s 36-foot height limit. The Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America (MECCA) won approval last year to build a center in unincorporated DuPage County, near the village of Willowbrook. After that, the county amended its zoning laws to lay out the conditions of its height restrictions more clearly.</p><p>The decision in this case could have broad implications for other groups that have assembled in buildings that were built before the new zoning rules.</p><p>"Our decision today will determine how those text amendments are interpreted," warned board member Anthony Michelassi, shortly before the vote. "We have the ability to determine how this law is applied, and I would rather it be so we grant deference to religious symbols of existing places of assembly."</p><p>MECCA’s lawyer, Mark Daniels, argued that the amendments to the zoning rules included language that allows special protections for existing places of assembly, in case they wanted to modify their buildings.</p><p>"If you include the VFW halls and the other meetings hall with churches, there are probably 70 uses that are contemplated that are having the carpet pulled out from under them in the way of protection," said Daniels. "If they need to put an air conditioner on the roof, if they want to go a little bit higher for a flagpole or some other skylight perhaps —&nbsp;it could be any improvement on that roof. They’re basically yanking the rug out from under them by saying if you want to have that, you have to have open, landscaped areas."</p><p>Residents who live near the MECCA lot objected to the developer’s request, saying that the planned building is already too large for the site and that the additional structures would further encroach upon the views from their homes. They urged county board members to apply the new height requirements on the building. “This project does not conform to requirements and is not eligible for this relief,” said Willowbrook resident Pete Spencer.</p><p>Dr. Abdulgany Hamadeh, MECCA’s president, says he believes the board's decision on the minaret and dome is unfair, but he still intends to break ground by June. "The problem is changing the rules in the middle of the game all the time," said Hamadeh. "Had we known before that we had a height limit, had we known that we have setbacks, maybe we would have designed the building differently."</p><p>Hamadeh said there’s no way to build a minaret in compliance with the county’s 36-foot limit, but that it may be possible to build a dome on the inside of the structure under that rule.</p></p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 21:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-denies-mosque%E2%80%99s-request-tall-minaret-and-dome-97260 DuPage faith groups watch minaret decision http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-faith-groups-watch-minaret-decision-97223 <p><p>The DuPage County Board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether an incoming mosque may add a minaret and dome to its building plan. MECCA, the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, has applied for a conditional use permit to construct a 50-foot high dome and a 60-foot high minaret. The decision is being closely watched by other faith groups in the county, who are keen to see how the board will respond to requests for modifications to projects that were grandfathered in after the county changed its zoning rules. The new rules, passed in October, limit structures to 36 feet.</p><p>Last week DuPage County’s Development Committee voted neither to approve nor deny the request of MECCA’s developers, splitting evenly on the matter. Complicating the situation is the fact that MECCA is considered an “existing use” because its zoning permit was approved last year before the zoning amendments. Ground has not yet been broken on the project. County Board member Anthony Michelassi said that means MECCA’s application has to be evaluated under zoning rules that existed when it was granted its original permit.</p><p>“If we were to say to any existing religious institution, you can’t put, say, a steeple on top of your building because then you’d have to start lopping off parts of your building elsewhere,” said Michelassi. “That would go completely against the spirit of the text amendments to begin with.”</p><p>Several residents of a housing development next to the MECCA property in unincorporated Willowbrook spoke at the committee meeting to express their opposition to the minaret and dome. Diana Cornett, who lives in the property closest to the site, said she and her neighbors have compromised on their ideals to come to peace with the idea of a large assembly space going up next to their relatively quiet and secluded homes. She said that adding the tall structures would be an even greater imposition on her suburban surroundings.</p><p>“It’s just seeing that much more of a building that we really don’t want to see anymore of,” said Cornett. “And it would be the same if Wal-Mart wanted to build a building and they wanted to add another whole story to it.”</p></p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-faith-groups-watch-minaret-decision-97223 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 Muslim group objects to DuPage zoning rules http://www.wbez.org/story/muslim-group-objects-dupage-zoning-rules-90626 <p><div style="background-color: transparent;"><p>A group of Muslim organizations in the Chicago area is calling on DuPage County's Board to review its zoning policies, saying they may violate a federal law that protects religious institutions. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago is particularly concerned about the case of the Pin Oak Mosque, which was denied permission to build a dome in excess of the county’s 36-foot height restriction last week. The mosque’s leaders want to build the house of worship in unincorporated residential DuPage County, near west suburban Lombard.</p><p>Dr. Mohammed Zaher Sahloul, head of the CIOGC, said he’s troubled by this because this is the second mosque that has recently run into trouble with the county’s height variations. Another, the Muslim Educational and Cultural Center of America, was denied permission to build a minaret, though the rest of the project was approved. Speaking of the Pin Oak project, Sahloul said he hopes the recent dome denial won’t kill the rest of the project. “I hope it's only (a) technical issue that can be dealt with,” said Sahloul. “Hopefully the permit can happen, and it's not a pattern of rejection of houses of worship in DuPage County.”</p><p>Sahloul said domes and minarets are just as symbolically important to Muslim houses of worship as spires and bell towers are to churches. But some county board members say the burden lies with zoning applicants to prove that without an exemption to county rules, they would experience hardship. The application for the height exemption was separate from the county’s consideration of the rest of the mosque development. The county’s Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to vote on the rest of the proposal at its August 23rd meeting.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></div></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/muslim-group-objects-dupage-zoning-rules-90626 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 Board deals setback to mosque proposal http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage/dupage-board-deals-setback-mosque-proposal <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/forweb_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In an unexpected turn of events, a group of Sunni Muslims failed to win approval for a worship center that they have sought to build on a 5-acre parcel of unincorporated DuPage County. Instead, the county board rejected the bid by the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, or MECCA, to construct a 79-foot minaret and a dome. The board also sent the group&rsquo;s petition to build the rest of the mosque back to the county&rsquo;s development committee.</p> <div>While the meeting did not go as MECCA leaders had expected, several residents of the area around the proposed site were relieved.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Really, we're not surprised that it went back to the board for further look-see,&rdquo; said Sam Cornett, whose house abuts the property. Referring to some of the board members, Cornett added, &ldquo;Now the people have looked at the property, which we invite anybody to come and look at.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Cornett and his wife invited board members to visit their house and look at the proposed site after the development committee&rsquo;s vote last week. They say that may have played some role in turning the tide against the mosque. Several board members that voted for the project last week voted against it Tuesday.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>MECCA president Dr. Abdulgany Hamadeh said he does not yet know whether the group will continue pushing forward with their proposal.</div></p> Tue, 08 Feb 2011 21:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage/dupage-board-deals-setback-mosque-proposal Du Page mosque plan moves forward http://www.wbez.org/story/america/du-page-mosque-plan-moves-forward <p><p>Despite a blow last month in their bid for zoning to build a new mosque, a group of Muslims in DuPage County got a green-light today to finally bring their bid before the full county board. The County&rsquo;s Development Committee voted 5-1 to approve both the plan by The Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, or MECCA, to build a religious place of worship on the five-acre, unincorporated plot, as well as the construction of a dome and minaret.</p> <div>MECCA leaders were baffled last month when some members of the Zoning Board of Appeals denied approval for the project on the grounds of &quot;religious oversaturation&quot; in that part of the county.&nbsp;But Mark Daniel, an attorney representing the group, said that argument didn't come up with the Development Committee. &ldquo;County board members that are on the committee really focused on the relevant issues of code compliance and is this a religious use that is going to cause harm that's specific to the property, and they believed that it was not,&rdquo; said Daniel.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The county board is expected to consider the proposal within the next two weeks.</div></p> Tue, 01 Feb 2011 23:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/america/du-page-mosque-plan-moves-forward 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