Local media is reporting on neighborhood opposition to a proposed new mosque in the southwest suburbs of Chicago to be constructed by the Muslim Educational Center of America (MECCA). According to one report:
Dr. Talal Sunbulli, an executive committee member of the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, said Thursday night the religious group would be good neighbors if it is allowed to open a mosque near Willowbrook. But many area residents spoke out against the plan at a DuPage County Zoning Board meeting. The group is proposing to build a three-story mosque, gymnasium and eventually a school on 4.7 acres near 91st Street and Illinois Route 83 in unincorporated DuPage County. “I would like to invite you and your family to our picnics (at the mosque),” said Sunbulli to about 40 neighborhood residents who came out to oppose the mosque development at the meeting in Wheaton. “We want you to know that we will continue to listen to you and try to be as attentive as possible to your needs because that’s what neighbors do.” But residents, many who live in the adjacent Jamie Lane subdivision, said they have concerns about flooding and traffic issues that may occur from the proposed development. “I have nothing against the mosque; it’s a beautiful development,” said Jamie Lane resident Larry Senters, 52, at the three-hour zoning meeting. “But we have a flooding problem from four (retention) ponds in the neighborhood. There is no way these ponds will be able to hold more water from runoff (of the proposed development).”….The elevation of Jamie Lane is apparently lower than other surrounding land and may have been a floodplain, according to residents. Traffic in the area was another concern for residents. MECCA officials said the mosque and buildings can house a maximum of 600 people. But the group stressed that full capacity would only occur several times a year during Muslim religious holidays. The mosque will hold five daily prayers, bringing about 30 people for each prayer service. MECCA officials said the largest number of members during a typical week would come to the location for Friday prayer between 1-1:30 p.m. The site will contain over 200 parking spots, but most members carpool, they said. In addition, the school, which would have an estimated 250 students, isn’t expected to be built for another five years, according to MECCA officials….MECCA officials noted that there are three other religious institutions near their proposed site.Officials also said they have outgrown their current location at 720 E. Plainfield Road in Willowbrook and decided several years ago to search for another site for a new facility….Several DuPage County officials, including seven zoning board members, are currently named in a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by a group that proposed an educational center and place of worship near Naperville that would serve about 30 Shia Muslim families.The county rejected the plan earlier this year after neighbors had objected to plans for the center, citing concerns about parking and late-night services.
According to the MECCA website, one of the members of the MECCA Executive Committee is Basman Osman, likely the same individual identified by a Hudson Institute report as a US Muslim Brotherhood leader and a representative of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) who is known to have a home located approximately 2 kilometers northwest of the proposed new MECCA mosque. NAIT is an affiliate of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and a document released in 2007 by the prosecution in the Holy Land Terrorism financing case names NAIT as one of the entities that is part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. A research report on ISNA explains that NAIT is the custodian of a large number of U.S. mosques and Islamic centers:
The NAIT website states that it “holds the title of approximately 300 properties” a figure consistent with a LEXIS/NEXIS search showing 332 properties in the real-estate related database and with a report by the Council on American Islamic Relations which says that NAIT owns about 27 percent of the estimated 1200 mosques in the United States. In a hearing before the United States Senate, witness testimony shows that NAIT holds the deeds to between 50% and 79% of American mosques.
The report also describes examples of how NAIT played a role in the ideological takeover of two U.S. mosques, driving out moderate leaders and replacing them with those close to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. One of those mosques was the Bridgeview mosque in Bridgeview, a suburb nearby the location of the proposed MECCA mosque.
Bassam Osman is also listed on the one the website of the Universal School, also located in Bridgeview, as a director and as a “Representative of NAIT.” ISNA President Ingrid Mattson, another NAIT Trustee, also served on the Board of Directors of the Universal School where she also taught Islamic Studies at the high school level and ISNA Secretary-General Saffa Zazour is also a Universal School board member and former principal. A Time Magazine article reports that although the Universal School is located next door to the Bridgeview Mosque, the school asserts its independence from the mosque which a 2004 Chicago Tribune investigative report had associated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the Tribune investigation showed clear links from the Bridgeview mosque to organizations associated with Universal School board members: ·
- The Tribune reported that the mosque had been deeded to NAIT in 1981 by Islamic fundamentalists who had taken over the mosque from its former leaders. As noted above, NAIT is part of ISNA and another school board member is also an ISNA board member.
- The Tribune investigation went on to report that in 1985, Jordanian Sheikh Jamal Said became the new mosque prayer leader, replacing Ahmed Zaki Hammad who later became the President of ISNA. Sheikh Said was reported to have been inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, educated at a Saudi Arabian University, and noted for his sermons espousing strict Islamic fundamentalist views and critical of America as “a land of disbelievers.”
- Mosque leaders were also leaders of the Quranic Literacy Institute (QLI), and the Islamic Association for Palestine, the predecessor of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Universal school board members are also affiliated or had been tied to the QLI and CAIR.
As much as $1 million a year was raised from mosque members which was then sent to overseas Muslim charities. The mosque donated money to three Islamic charities that have since been identified as involved in financing terrorism—the Holy Land Foundation, Benevolence International, and the Global Relief Foundation. One of the mosque’s eight-member executive committee was Muhammad Salah, a Muslim Brotherhood member who was arrested in Israel in 1993 and has since been identified as a Hamas military commander.
ISNA itself has a long history of fundamentalism, anti-semitism, and support for terrorism and during the recent Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial, ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
(Note: GMBDW first learned of the proposed new mosque