Monday, August 23, 2010

Islamic Center Flap in West Rogers Park (Fluky's is Ground Zero)

The Chicago Zoning Board may render a decision as early as today as to whether or not to grant a special use permit for an Islamic Education Center to occupy the site of a storied West Rogers Park eatery.

The site, once occupied by Fluky's at 6821 N. Western Ave. has been tenatively purchased by the Faizan E. Madina Islamic Education Center. It occupies a full 2/3 of the block of Western Ave. between Farwell and Pratt Aves.

According to Sun-Times reports, the proposed development has encountered a flurry of opposition from local community groups who decry the loss of yet another tax generating commercial site to a religious tax-exempt group.

Over the past 5 years, the strip of Western Avenue between Lunt and Howard has become home to 3 other Islamic facilities, two of them quite sizable.

The addition of the former Fluky's site would likely make this swath of West Rogers Park the heaviest concentration of organized Moslem activity in the city.

Currently operating on the Western Ave corridor are:

Sharia Board of America - A Division of Rahmat-E-Alam Foundation, 7045 N. Western, (photo above) a former insurance company headquarters which occupies 2/3 of the block,

Mahdevia Islamic Center of Chicago, 7419 N. Western, which occupies 2 formerly commercial storefronts and has no offstreet parking,

Bosnian Islamic Cultural Center, 7022 N. Western, which occupies 2 former commercial storefront and has no offstreet parking.

Muslims ready to convert the Fluky's site (photo below) into a mosque say they're facing opposition that churches and synagogues in the neighborhood have not. But objecting neighbors say their opposition is economic.

"In America, everybody has the opportunity to practice their religion and where they want to," said Ahmed Shakil, a member of the Faizan E Madina Islamic Education Center. "If this was a church or a synagogue they would not have these objections, I don't think."

"There is no bigotry involved here," said Amie Zander, president of the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce, told the Sun-Times over the weekend. "Our sole objection is that we want this prime location to remain a commercial site, paying property tax."

Other residents expressed concerns about possible traffic and parking congestion during peak times. They also are concerned that the site -- given its prime location and ample off-street parking -- is capable of attracting a big-name restaurateur and jobs.

Over the past 5 years one large storefront, one large stand-alone restaurant and one sizable commercial vocational school building on the nearby Touhy and California corridor have been converted into Orthodox-Jewish synogogues without community opposition.


  1. So, because the community feels that a 4th Islamic site isn't necessary or economically valid, it must be racist.

    Perhaps that's part of the invasion plan - use up all our commercial properties so we can't put in businesses that will grow the economy, thus adding to our downfall.

  2. Strangely, the City of Chicago Zoning Board, refused the Muslims' petition. There will be no Mosque there -- I guess they'r all racists on the Chicago Zoning board -- HA!


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.