BROOKFIELD -- The Muslim community in Brookfield is growing, and looking for a permanent home. The Islamic Society of Milwaukee hopes to build a mosque off Calhoun Road, but the plan has not been without some controversy.
Monday night during a public hearing, Plan Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend the mosque be approved. The plan now goes to the Brookfield Common Council for a final vote on May 15.
The Brookfield Plan Commission heard over 100 comments from the public during a two-hour time span Monday night. The Common Council chambers were full, and the even the overflow room was overflowing!
Neighbors expressed comments both for and against the proposed mosque, though officials warned they would only hear concerns regarding zoning issues like traffic concerns at Monday night's meeting.
Earlier this year the Brookfield Common Council voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on the mosque. A neighborhood information session was held Wednesday, May 2nd.
The Islamic Society of Milwaukee held an informational session open to the public to answer questions about the proposed mosque and about Islam Monday evening, April 23rd. Some are concerned about the proposed location of the mosque, and others are concerned about the type of worship that would be practiced there.
Many of those at the April 23rd meeting were supporters of the proposed mosque, but there were also a few, vocal members of the Brookfield community saying – not in my backyard. “The sad part is that we do have to look at your religion as having the extremists. I like truth, and I don’t believe the truth is actually evident,” one audience member said. “You talked about the Bible and the Torah and how much you respect that. It says throughout the Koran that those texts are corrupt,” another audience member said.
“We’ve desired to have a place of worship in Waukesha County for at least 10 years. I think we have a culture right now in this country where it’s okay to bash certain groups with impunity and Muslims are one of those groups,” Dr. Mushir Hassan with the Islamic Society of Milwaukee
There was a contentious debate regarding a Sheboygan mosque a little less than two years ago, and a high-profile national debate surrounding a proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York. Both projects were eventually approved.
Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto says the city will be examining a building, not a religion, as it decides whether to approve the project. “We’re not looking at all these other issues people want to bring up,” Ponto said.
One of the concerns the city has already raised is the traffic worshippers could bring to the nearby busy intersections off of Calhoun Road. “We significantly downsized our building to have a worship size of 114, and with doing that, the traffic numbers would not be any worse than it would be during rush hour,” Hassan said.
Still, it may not be enough to satisfy some in the community who are anti-Islam. According to FOX6′s media partners at the Brookfield Patch, one man petitioned aldermen via email to block the project, writing: “A mosque is a Trojan horse in a community. Muslims have not come to integrate, but to dominate.”
Brookfield officials say concerns about the religion of Islam cannot be considered at the two official city meetings on May 2nd and 7th.
CLICK HERE for more information on the project via the Brookfield Patch’s website.