Chicago Tribune: Judge: Suit over proposed mosque will proceed

A federal judge has denied DuPage County’s request to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit filed by a group seeking to open a mosque and Islamic school near Naperville.

U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer issued a written ruling today, rejecting the county’s motion to dismiss. No trial date has yet been set, said Kevin Vodak, attorney for the Chicago Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago).

The DuPage County Board in January 2010 voted 10-7 to deny a conditional-use permit requested for the Irshad Learning Center, proposed for a 2.9-acre site on 75th Street between Wehrli Road and Naperville Boulevard.

The county’s Development Committee had recommended approval for the project, while the county’s Zoning Board had voted against recommending its approval.

Named in the suit are the County Board and Zoning Board members who voted against the plan. Also named is former County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom, who didn’t vote on the matter but is held accountable in the suit for the board’s actions.

Neighbors of the proposed project had objected to the center, citing concerns about parking and late-night services.

CAIR-Chicago, which said the center would serve about 30 families, “will continue to pursue the Center’s right to use the facility they own to accommodate the needs of the community,” said Vodak.

The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office, which is representing the county board, could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this month the County Board, by a vote of 13-5, approved a conditional-use permit for a mosque near Willowbrook. Proposals for similar facilities near West Chicago and Lombard are also under consideration.