The DuPage County Board voted 13-5 this week to grant a special use permit to the Muslim Education and Cultural Center of America (MECCA).
The distinctive minaret and golden dome will be absent, but MECCA — after months of controversy — won approval Tuesday to build a mosque near Willowbrook. After rejecting a call to send the matter back to the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals for further study, the board signed off on the revised plan by approving a conditional-use permit 13-5.
As crowds of protesters in Egypt erupted in anger, Egyptians in the Chicago area were glued to their televisions and computers as they grappled with what they called shocking news: The president of Egypt was not stepping down, despite weeks of protests and hints that he would do so.
Ahmed Rehab has been hit 24 times with an acrid cloud of tear gas — stopped in his tracks as he and thousands of other protesters march for democracy in Egypt. Unlike other American travelers, the Chicago-based civil rights activist, who heads CAIR-Chicago, went to Egypt in anticipation of the simmering revolution.
“How many mosques constitute an oversaturation in unincorporated DuPage County, according to the Zoning Board of Appeals?” asked Ahmed Rehab, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, at a news conference. “The answer would be one. One would be one too many apparently, and that’s very disconcerting to us.”
Christian, Muslim, Jewish and civic leaders affirm religious freedom and call on the DuPage County Development Board to reconsider the Zoning Board’s decision to deny a permit for MECCA, a mosque in Willowbrook.
Amina Sharif, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said she is concerned that officials are trying to limit religious institutions. In April, the group filed a lawsuit against the county alleging discrimination in rejecting a zoning proposal for an Islamic education center and place of worship near Naperville.
Call the DuPage Country Board and show your support for: the Islamic Center of the Western Suburbs (ICSW), the Muslim Education and Cultural Center of America (MECCA), and the Irshad Learning Center (ILC).
Make your voice heard and make a difference!
“There is a large and growing number of Muslim families who live, work, and pay taxes in DuPage County yet are being denied the same right as their neighbors to establish institutions to accommodate their religious and community needs,” said Ahmed Rehab.
The DuPage County Zoning Board of Appeals voted 5-2 to reject the petition by the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America (MECCA).
Last year, CAIR-Chicago filed a federal lawsuit against the county, alleging discrimination in the rejection of a zoning proposal for an Islamic educational center and place of worship near Naperville.