Target: City of Des Plaines Mayor Matthew Bogusz
Goal: Approve zoning change to allow building of mosque in Des Plaines, Illinois
The city of Des Plaines, Illinois is home to one mosque. The American Islamic College (AIC), one-quarter of whose congregation lives in Des Plaines, wants to change that. However, the City of Des Plaines continues to deny the AIC the necessary zoning changes that would allow them to build a new mosque.
Northern Chicago suburbs like Des Plaines are home to many Muslims and very few mosques. Currently, many Muslim institutions have to rent spaces at community centers and colleges for prayer and services. This lack of access to their necessary religious institution is a form of discrimination against American Muslims in the community.
In Des Plaines, the location the AIC has chosen for their proposed mosque is located in an industrial area, resulting in the need for a zoning change. However, when the AIC’s rezoning proposal finally reached the Des Plaines City Council, the City of Des Plaines failed to approve it.
The City is claiming that their actions are completely legal and legitimate, yet refusing the AIC the right to build a mosque in Des Plaines is both religious discrimination and a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons act (RLUIPA). The RLUIPA is a civil rights act that provides increased legal protection for religious institutions in terms of property use.
The American Islamic College has filed a lawsuit against the City of Des Plaines for their violation of the RLUIPA. Show your support for the AIC and let the City of Des Plaines know that their religious discrimination is deplorable by signing below.
Dear Mayor Matthew Bogusz,
Preventing the American Islamic College from building a mosque in Des Plaines is a direct violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and discriminates against Muslim members of your community. Although you may feel as if your actions in denying the AIC zoning permit changes are in line with federal law, they are in fact a gross mistreatment of American Muslims and their right to practice their religion.
The RLUIPA provides religious groups and institutions with legal protection in terms of land use and halting a zoning change to allow the AIC to build a mosque is a violation of this act. The Des Plaines City Council’s actions are deplorable and discriminatory against your Muslim community members.
I strongly urge you to reconsider the council’s decision to deny the AIC the zoning change as this decision also denies them their right to practice their religion free from discrimination.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Zol87 via Wikimedia Commons