First Skokie mosque proposed at old Holocaust Museum site

Vacant for the last five years, the former home of the Holocaust Museum on Main Street in Skokie (a suburb of Chicago) could become the new home to the first mosque in the village.

The Skokie Plan Commission on Aug. 1 unanimously recommended a special use permit to the Kaleemiah Foundation, which would use the building at 4255 Main St. as a mosque – a Muslim place of worship – and not as a community center.

 

The Skokie Village Board has final say at a future meeting.

According to the foundation’s mission statement, its primary goal is “to provide a nurturing place of worship.”

 

Under the Foundation’s proposal, the building will be open every day for prayer. Most sessions will last 10 or 15 minutes with one 45-minute session on Friday.

 

“This building has been vacant since 2008,” said David Hartmann. “A vacant building adds nothing to a neighborhood and, in fact, detracts from a neighborhood. The longer it is vacant, the longer there is wear and tear on the building.”

 

Temple Judea Mizpah Rabbi Amy Memis-Foler, a member of the Niles Township Clergy Association, and later Asaf Bar-Tura, representing the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, also spoke in support of the mosque and its positive impact on diversity in Skokie.

 

The Chicago area has 32 mosques including 11 in Chicago, two in Evanston, one in Morton Grove, one in Des Plaines and one in Northbrook.

 

“The mission of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is to teach universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice, indifference and intolerance to help put an end to genocide around the world, ensuring that ‘never again’ becomes a reality for all people,” Hirschhaut said.

“As such, the museum is committed to operating in a manner that reflects that teaching and honors the right of all people to practice their faith.”

Man arrested after allegedly firing BB gun at mosque

Police say they’ve arrested a man who lives near a mosque in Morton Grove, Illinois, for firing a pellet rifle at the mosque Friday night while 500 people prayed inside.

In a statement sent out Sunday, police said 51-year-old David Conrad of Morton Grove, who lives near the Muslim Education Center, faces felony charges.

The statement released by Morton Grove Police Cmdr. Paul Yaras said Conrad faces three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and one count of criminal damage to property. It also said a high-velocity air rifle outfitted with a scope was seized.

Off-duty Chicago police officers, who had been hired to provide additional security at the mosque during Ramadan activities, called Morton Grove police after they saw an object whiz by and hit the building just above the head of one of the officers, Hussain said.

Though the damage to the building was minor, there were about 500 people inside the mosque for prayers at the time of the shooting, Hussain said, adding that many kids from the congregation were outside of the building during the service.   No one was injured.

CAIR: Shots Fired at Illinois Mosque

The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) said today that two air rifle shots were fired last night at the outer wall of the Muslim Education Center (MEC) mosque in Morton Grove, Ill.

The shots were heard by worshipers who were outside the mosque and were powerful enough to damage the building’s brick wall. (The Muslim Community Center (MCC), of which the MEC is a suburban branch, is the oldest Muslim center in Illinois.)

A neighbor, who has a history of opposition to the mosque, allegedly fired the shots. Morton Grove police, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office are all investigating the incident.

“This is obviously an alarming situation that all parties are taking very seriously. The weapon allegedly used in this incident is powerful enough to kill, and the projectiles reportedly came within inches of the head of the security guard on duty,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab.

Rehab toured the mosque site today with Muslim community leaders, the local police commander and the assistant state attorney. He said mosque leaders and community members are cooperating with the investigation and that a variety of charges are being considered.

“We have full trust in the professionals handling this investigation. They are doing everything in their power to keep communities safe and ensure that justice is served,” said Rehab.

Earlier this week, CAIR’s national headquarters issued a community safety advisory for American mosques following other incidents targeting Muslim houses of worship in Missouri and Rhode Island and after the deadly shooting attack Sunday on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.