Rogers Park mosque proposal makes national news

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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