Proposed Mosque for Brookfield Gains Support of Religious Leaders

08 March 2012

By Rory Linnane

Members of the Brookfield-Elm Grove Interfaith Network are coming to the defense of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee's proposal to build a mosque in Brookfield, the Journal Sentinel reported as the religious leaders started a letter of support.

"This is about the rights of decent human beings to have a place to worship," Rabbi Steven Adams of Congregation Emanu-El in Waukesha, who was drafting the letter on behalf of the group, told the Journal Sentinel.

The Islamic Society hopes the new mosque, which would have to be approved by the Plan Commission and Common Council, could eventually serve 350 congregants from western suburbs.

The proposal has prompted mixed feedback from beginning, with concerns centering around traffic congestion and religious extremists. Brookfield resident Nancy Jo Baratti described her fears on Brookfield NOW.

There will likely be more opposition coming out of the Eagle Forum, which will meet Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Brookfield Public Library.

Still, Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto said he thinks the criticism is coming from a vocal minority of Brookfield residents.

"Overall, I think Brookfield has a very highly educated, sophisticated population. And they understand that one of our great strengths is a respect for the religious rights of all people and a respect for different cultures," he told the Journal Sentinel.

Local Muslim leaders say the new mosque, Masjid Al'Noor, would allow congregants to spread out from their overflowing Milwaukee location where more than 1,500 people attending on a weekly basis, according to documents filed with the city. About 75 to 100 Muslim families live within a 10-mile radius of the proposed Brookfield mosque site, the documents say.

The society purchased two lots totalling about four acres in Brookfield starting in 2009 and have been working with city officials since on its plans to build a mosque at 16650 and 16730 W. Pheasant Dr., a short distance northeast of the Calhoun Road-North Avenue intersection.

The Brookfield Plan Commission will hold a public hearing on the project at 6:30 p.m. May 7 at City Hall.

Muslim Day Care Closes For Day, Over Protest From Christian Group - by Chris Smith

Ballwin, Mo.-Parental Concern Closes Muslim Day Care School Over Protest Christian Group. The Al-Salam Day School closed its doors Friday. A Christian group planned to gather at the Muslim school. Parents were so concerned about safety for their kids, the principal cancelled classes.

Members of the group, Reclaiming Missouri for Christ, rejected the word "protest" as a description for their plans Friday. They called it Christian outreach. They planned to hand out literature about Muslims who converted to Christianity. Organizers said the gathering would be peaceful.

Many parents were worried the gathering would turn violent. So, they kept their kids out of classes. Ameen Ahmad did not get the letter from the principal. He and his five-year-old son arrived to an empty building. But, the father said he was not worried.

"If they want to say something, they'll say it in a very peaceful manner. So, I'm not concerned in that sense that somebody will harm my kid or somebody will harm me."

Now, some might wonder why Al-Salam of all the Muslim schools in the area would close because of this gathering. On the other side of the school is the Daar-ul-Islam Mosque, home to the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Also, Reclaiming Missouri planned to pass their literature out during midday prayers at the mosque.

St. Louis County Police planned to send an officer to make sure everyone was safe.



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