Loyola Student Dispatch

Bringing Breaking News to Loyola University Chicago

Rogers Park mosque proposal makes national news

Posted by dyaneztest on October 12, 2010

By Denise Yanez

Loyola University Chicago first learned about the Rogers Park mosque controversy in an August 30 post on Loyola Student Dispatch.

 Here’s that post: West Rogers Park faces its own mosque controversy

Since that post, others have followed. Now the Wall Street Journal is weighing in with its own story:

Two years ago, 6821 Western Avenue in Rogers Park was the home of the U Lucky Dawg hot dog stand. Today, it is being considered as one of the “35 controversial sites of prospective mosques and prayer centers across the United States” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The debates range from arguments over aesthetics, location, ethnicity, religion, and taxes. Because places of worship do not pay property taxes, the neighborhood would essentially be losing out on an a great place of real estate.

The once predominantly Jewish neighborhood isn’t anymore and Faizan-e-Madina, the Muslim group behind the building of the mosque, recognizes this and believe they have a great need for a place of worship. Rogers Park  is now home to immigrants from Pakistan, India, and Somalia, to name a few. Most of them are Muslims.

Amie Zander, the executive director of the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce, argues that the neighborhood can’t afford the mosque and instead has offered to find another space for the building of a mosque–potentially a former synagogue farther out in Rogers Park.

However, members of the Muslim group believe there are greater reasons beyond property taxes that has stunted their efforts at receiving the building permit– primarily, racism.

“We have three options,” Rashid Motiwala, the group’s leader, said: to reapply for a permit; to take the case to court; or simply to move on and find another place to pray.

To learn more about Chicago-based Faizan-e-Madina, see here.

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One Response to “Rogers Park mosque proposal makes national news”

  1. Mariam said

    I remember reading about this in the weeks prior to Sept. 11 of this year, when the “Ground Zero mosque” debate was at its high point. I feel like I read in the Tribune that the reason the permit was denied was to keep business in the neighborhood and that the area isn’t zoned for a mosque. Something along those lines. As a Rogers Park resident, I certainly don’t think anyone should be denied a place to pray. But I can understand the point of wanting to keep businesses in the neighborhoods, especially since Rogers Park will be part of Gov. Quinn’s “Revitalize Chicago” plan. I just think there’s more to this than racism–it’s too easy to play that card sometimes, I think.

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