Jul 14 2010
CHICAGO residents complain about all excess cars and traffic noise from the FIVE Islamic prayer times scheduled every day and worry that the presence of the mosque is hurting the area’s housing values.
The Islamic Center of Western Suburbs is located on Army Trail Road near West Chicago. However, some who live near the site want the group to stop using the house for anything other than a residence. Islamic leaders admit they have already been using the house for prayer and as a food pantry without permission.
Neighbors who are against the proposed zoning change say religion has nothing to do with it; they simply don’t want a commercial venture of any sort in their residential area. But members of the Islamic Center say they need a place for daily prayer and are hoping the zoning board in DuPage county will allow them that right.
“They’ve been told, no, they can’t operate there, and do it anyway. Nothing stops them,” said neighbor Jackie Sitkiewcz.
The Sitkiewcz family has owned their property for more than three decades . They say they like the area because it’s quiet and somewhat remote and private. However, they say that changed almost two years ago when members of the Islamic Center bought the house in front of them and started using it for daily prayer services. Members visit the home up to five times a day for 15-minute prayer periods and often block the driveway, according to the Sitkiewcz family.
“There is no other facility to pray, to my knowledge, within 15 or 20 minutes of this,” the Islamic Center’s Mohsin Bhally said. ABC NEWS H/T herr OYAL