Proposed Mosque for Brookfield Gains Support of Religious Leaders
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.