Suburban Chicago Mosques and Islamic Schools Face Opposition

April 24, 2005

Source: Chicago Tribune

On April 24, 2005 the Chicago Tribune reported, "invitations were delivered to every neighbor along Old Orchard Road in Harvard. But when the day arrived to meet the likely new owners of the brick church at the end of their street, no one showed up.

Hamid and Mazher Ahmed sat for hours inside the vacant church on a recent Saturday. The buffet of home-cooked Indian food grew cold, and they grew weary of trying to make an impression.

It was a sign, they said, that the plan to convert the former Episcopal church into an Islamic boarding school would face high hurdles. The neighbors hired an attorney to block the plan, and last week the city's Planning and Zoning Commission denied their request for a permit to open the school... As more Muslims make the suburbs their home--an estimated 400,000 in the Chicago area--they are clashing with their new neighbors over where to build mosques and schools. In Morton Grove, residents dragged out approval of a mosque for more than a year, leaving bruised feelings that have yet to heal. In Orland Park, some residents said they would not re-elect the mayor if he supported building a mosque."