- For Immediate Release & Distribution -

PRESS RELEASE: CAIR-CHICAGO FINDS DUPAGE COUNTY BOARD RULING “UNACCEPTABLE”

Investigating Options in Response to Denial of Minaret and Dome for Mosque

(CHICAGO, 2/8/11) - The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today denounced a vote by the DuPage County board to reject a requested height variance that would have allowed the construction of a minaret and dome at a proposed mosque on 91st Street in unincorporated Willowbrook. A decision on whether to allow the construction of the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America (MECCA) has still not been made.

“Today, the DuPage County Board rejected religious symbols of the Muslim faith when it voted to deny variations to allow a dome and minaret to rise above the traditional roof-line of the mosque proposed by MECCA,” said MECCA’s attorney Mark Daniel.

“We find this decision to be unacceptable. While certain County Board members claim this is not about religion, we demand that the County reflect this in its actions,” said CAIR-Chicago Staff Attorney Kevin Vodak.

The height requirement was first raised against MECCA’s application in late August 2010. No other religious institution prior to MECCA is known to have faced this requirement.

“CAIR-Chicago and others in the faith community expect more of our elected officials,” said CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham. “Whether today’s vote serves as an example of general religious oppression or a strike against Muslim worshippers everywhere on the basis of their beliefs, governmental conduct that needlessly denies the benefit of religious symbols or forces the sacrifice of common improvements in order to utilize these symbols cannot be tolerated.”

CAIR-Chicago has already filed suit on behalf of the Irshad Learning Center (ILC) in Naperville based on the denial of its rights. CAIR-Chicago has been calling on people of all faiths to contact members of the County Board to demand an explanation and express their unwillingness to tolerate these double standards.

“We must remind the County Board members of their oath of office and duty to apply the law fairly notwithstanding objectors who call for more political decisions.” said Vodak.

The request for the conditional use permit returns to the County Development Committee on February 15 at 11:00 a.m., without the properly proposed heights for the dome and minaret.

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CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: Amina Sharif, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, 312-212-1520, 630-935-5562, E-Mail: asharif@cair.com; CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham, 312-212-1520, 847-971-7989: E-Mail: cabraham@cair.com

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