(CHICAGO, 1/18/11) – 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.
Kiran Ansari, firstname.lastname@example.org, 630-544-9377
CIOGC Office: Rita Sutton, email@example.com , 312-506-0070
Ahmed Rehab, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-870-0166
Amina Sharif, email@example.com, 312-212-1520, 630-935-5562
WHEN: 11AM – Wednesday, January 19, 2010
WHERE: Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) – 231 S. State, St, 3rd Floor, Chicago IL 60604
WHO: Leaders and families of the Muslim community in Willowbrook, CIOGC, CAIR Chicago, Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and other faith leaders.
WHY: CAIR-Chicago along with The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) and its interfaith and civic partners is organizing a press conference to affirm the rights of DuPage county residents to religious accommodation including the construction of religious and community centers.
The coalition’s support for the 5th amendment rights of DuPage county residents comes on the heels of a recent troubling recommendation by the DuPage County Zoning Board to deny a permit for a third Mosque in DuPage county in recent months, even though the mosques are in compliance with written zoning requirements
MECCA, a member of CIOGC, had requested a conditional-use permit to build a mosque and weekend school at 91st and Kingery Road in Willowbrook, an area which has a sizeable Muslim population but only a church and a Buddhist temple. Despite satisfying all needs of the zoning board and neighbors, the board voted to recommend denial of the permit sighting “religious oversaturation” as a reason.
“Our constitution guarantees us and all faith groups the right to worship and build houses of worship,” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, chairperson of the Council. “Unequal application of the law by the DuPage County Zoning Board makes it impossible for Muslims and other faiths to practice their religion freely in their county. This is un-American and it should change.”
“There needs to be an objective standard to ensure fair accommodation for all citizens,” said CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab. “‘Religious oversaturation’ is not a fair or objective standard when you consider that none of the institutions referred to serve the religious or community needs of the area’s large number of Sunni Muslims.”
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago is a federation of 53 mosques and Muslim organizations throughout the metropolitan Chicago region. The Council’s members collectively represent over 400,000 Muslims. The Council works to coordinate the activities of the Muslim community as well as provide education, training, networking and advocacy to and on behalf of our member organizations. www.ciogc.org
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.