Gerald Hankerson, CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Coordinator, and Amina Sharif, the Communications Coordinator, presented to a religion and culture class at Northwestern University on Thursday, April 21. The two discussed the role race and ethnicity play in the American Muslim experience.
Thank Senator Dick Durbin for holding Congressional hearings on the status of American Muslims’ civil rights.
“It’s a very timely and much needed initiative,” Ahmed Rehab said. “There has been a very one-sided conversation from Congress on Muslim rights and the Durbin hearing promises to balance the conversation… There have been a lot of politicians who are in denial as to the growing threat of Islamaphobians to the U.S. itself, this fear mongering, paranoid approach to anything Muslim.”
For area Muslims, practicing their faith can require traveling to mosques outside their communities or gathering in residential homes to pray. Now after years of fundraising and preparation, several groups want to move ahead with plans for their own places of worship in DuPage County.
The DuPage County Development Committee (CDC) voted yesterday to recommend granting a permit to the MECCA Mosque, but the issue is not over yet. The County Board will vote on the matter next week. Call the County Board and show your support for MECCA as well as the other mosques seeking permits.
CAIR-Chicago participated in an interfaith press conference held on behalf of the Muslim Education and Cultural Center of America (MECCA), the third mosque denied a permit in DuPage County in the past year.
“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.”
In tough economic times most neighborhoods would welcome development. But in suburban Willowbrook, they’re waving it off for an unusual reason: religious oversaturation.
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.
The zoning panel voted 6-1 last month to recommend denial of the conditional use permit needed for a worship center.
All seven members of the ZBA, along with 10 County Board members and former chairman Bob Schillerstrom, are named in a pending federal complaint [made by CAIR-Chicago] alleging they erred a year ago when they turned down an Islamic school and worship center.