NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — No one complained when a Christian church was planning to build a new facility in Naperville, but protests erupted after the plans fell through and the church began talking about selling the land to a mosque.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, for years, HOPE United Church of Christ had plans to build on 14 acres in an unincorporated section of Naperville surrounded by subdivisions, according to the Chicago Tribune.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
The plans were advertised on the church’s lawn, and the pastor of the church, the Rev. Timoth Sylvia, said he never anyone object, the Tribune reported.
But the plans fell through, and the Tribune reports now that the Islamic Center of Naperville wants to buy the land for a mosque for the Islamic Center of Naperville, and have the land annexed into Naperville, there is a lot of opposition.
Sylvia tells the Tribune the complaints about the mosque are “a display of true ignorance” that break his heart and anger him.
Most of the complaints about the planned mosque are related to traffic and property values, the Tribune reported. At a meeting of the Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission this week, one neighbor, Richard Wylie, said he’d rather see a trailer park at the site than a mosque because fewer people would be coming and going, the Tribune reported.
Plans for Muslim religious facilities have drawn controversy in several southern and western suburbs in recent years.
Plans for a $14 million mosque in Willowbrook were finally approved by DuPage County in March, after a long period of extended debate with angry neighbors.
As in Naperville, the neighbors’ complaints in Willowbrook largely revolved around traffic and property values, but some believed the residents were more worried about having Muslim people in their neighborhood than about the issues they claimed.
Although Naperville is mostly within DuPage County, the site where the mosque may locate is in Will County.