Dec 28 2012
CHICAGO: Turning the Eisenhower Library into an Islamic Indoctrination Center draws the ire of many in the Harwood Heights community
Tweet from God reports that President Dwight David Eisenhower is currently turning over in his grave.
EXAMINER Harwood Heights residents object to a proposal to turn the old Eisenhower Public Library into a mosque, as explained by Kevin Beese in an article that was posted yesterday on the Web site of the Chicago Sun Times.
The Eisenhower Public Library District (EPLD) serves a combined population of 22,879 people in Harwood Heights and Norridge, the twin suburbs that aside from each other are entirely surrounded by Chicago. The district was founded in 1972 with money from the U.S. Government and in 1973 district residents voted to support the district library with property taxes. Today, the EPL has a collection of 135,000 volumes and circulates 170,000 items per year.
In 1974, the Eisenhower Public Library moved to the old CANTOS sheet-metal factory. Expansion and remodeling, from 7,500 square feet to 11,250 square feet in 1982, was paid for by a mortgage. This is the building the Mercy Islamic Community Center would like to turn into a mosque.
The Plan Commission of the Village of Harwood Heights has approved the conversion of the former library building into a mosque. The Mercy Islamic Community Center now sporadically holds services at the Islamic Community Center of Illinois (ICCI) on Belmont Avenue.
Beese interviewed a family who objected to the proposed sale and feel tenants in three other apartment buildings neighboring the former library building feel the same way. John Pikarski, a lawyer for the Mercy Islamic Community Center, responded that the building is zoned for industrial use and if the building is instead purchased by a commercial organization, “Some fairly offensive uses can go in there as a matter of right.”
The building is no longer up to code according to Pikarski. Whoever buys the property will either have to bring the building up to code, or demolish it and build something else on the site.
Pikarski argued if the building is used as a mosque, it will be used five days a week, with Friday afternoons being the busiest use, and it would be a good fit for the neighborhood, with residences to the north and industrial facilities to the east and west. “This is a group that is growing and needs its own space,” he told Beese.