ROLLING MEADOWS – After more than two years of rejecting the initial plans, a Rolling Meadows mosque in Illinois has finally got approval from city aldermen on August 28 to relocate and expand its prayer center, Daily Herald reported.
“We had faith in the city council in 2016, but we didn’t lose faith,” said Abdul Javid, a mosque board member and its outreach committee chair who continued lobbying city officials even after the last council’s 4-3 denial of zoning changes in 2016.
The Islamic Society of the Northwest Suburbs plans to move from its current small site of four thousand square meters to a bigger location that it purchased with an area of 32,000m2.
There, it would renovate a vacant one-story brick industrial building into a prayer hall and Sunday school. The mosque is expected to open by 2021, while future phases call for a gymnasium for youth activities and a multipurpose room.
On Tuesday with some newly elected and appointed members, the council night voted 7-0 in support of the mosque’s request.
The vote accepted changing the city zoning code with a text amendment that would allow religious uses as a special use within the city’s manufacturing district.
An alderman, John D’Astice, talked about his previous opposition to the mosque plan and then changing his vote on Tuesday to an approval, saying: “two weeks ago, we heard differing opinions on this text amendment.”
“It may have seemed that we were discussing the Islamic Society when in reality the discussion was about the Rolling Meadows M-1 manufacturing district. If anyone felt my opinions were directed against the Islamic Society, I apologize.”
He continued that “the amendment protects much of the city’s manufacturing district while allowing the mosque to move forward with its plans.”
According to Pew Forum’s 2014 report, Muslims represented 1% of Illinois’s 13 million population. Illinois has the largest concentration of Muslims by state in USA, with 2,800 Muslims per 100,000 citizens.
The state of Illinois also hosts the oldest standing mosque in USA which is Al-Sadiq Mosque in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago.