Opponents of Proposed Mosque Clash with Islamic Society Organizers

Residents and members of the Eagle Forum raised concerns from traffic to religious extremism about a mosque planned in Brookfield.

Fears that a mosque would bring religious extremists, and even ties to terrorism, surfaced Tuesday when leaders of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee arrived at an Eagle Forum meeting meant to rally Brookfield residents against the proposal.

After the president and executive director of the society introduced themselves, the meeting at the  turned to debate, focused first on traffic concerns, but soon moving to attacks on the religion of Islam.

"My fear is what is being taught there," said a woman who did not want to give her name.

"Our God is not your God," one man said.

"What is it about your religion that draws so much extremism and hatred?" another asked.

Islamic Society of Milwaukee President Ahmad Quereshi and Executive Director Othman Atta answered their questions, alongside three members of the .

"You are our brothers and sisters of humanity," Quereshi said. "We are not the people advocating for hatred and violence. We're here as American citizens."

About 40 people showed up for the meeting, which forced the group outside into a standing circle where Janet Spiewak, president of the Eagle Forum of Wisconsin, first addressed them.

She advised the group to leave religion out of their arguments and focus on the construction of the building and traffic it would bring. Aldermen also have warned opponents to stick to non-religious concerns.

"We're not fighting against a religion," Spiewak said. "Concentrate on the traffic and zoning issues."

The Eagle Forum of Wisconsin's website includes as part of its mission: "We must also be vigilant against external threats from rogue nations and radical Islamists."

Spiewak urged those present to voice their concerns to their aldermen.

"Make yourselves heard," she said. "You have 14 aldermen and a mayor who want to slip something past."

The Islamic Society of Milwaukee already owns the land at 16650 and 16730 W. Pheasant Dr., which is northeast of the intersection of Calhoun Road and North Avenue. But they still have several hurdles to pass before moving forward.

After a tentatively scheduled for May 7, the plans will go before the Plan Commission for discussion and possible action on a required conditional use permit. If approved there, it will go to the full Common Council.


Brookfield resident Carole Wegner said she came to the meeting to learn more about the Islamic Society's proposed mosque, which would be located near her Calhoun Drive home, and especially how much traffic it would bring.

"This is not because it's a mosque," Wegner said. "My concern is that this is already a done deal, and I want to be part of the process."

However, as the debate carried on for more than an hour, concerns about Islam and terrorism dominated the exchanges.

Audrey Hilgendorf, a Brookfield resident, asked about allegations that the Islamic Society of Milwaukee's religious director, Zulifiqar Ali Shah, has been linked to terrorist organizations.

Quereshi said Ali Shah was doing fundraising for Kind Hearts' earthquake relief work in Pakistan, but quit after the organization was accused of having ties to terrorism.

"We are against any kind of extremism," Quereshi said.

Quereshi and Atta encouraged anyone with concerns to tour the Islamic Society in Milwaukee. With requests from those present, Quereshi said they also may drop off copies of the Quran translation they follow to area churches, and hold an open forum for anyone to ask questions about the project and their beliefs.

More information about the Islamic Society and their plans for Brookfield can be found on their website.

lee April 19, 2012 at 04:43 PM
islam is infiltrating,..so they will be able to control us, more & more in the future. Domination is islams goal, it is a "process" of taking control from within. Build it, they will come.
lee April 20, 2012 at 01:12 AM
short & to the point,....one of many teachings of islam... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOOMBE33-ro
Sad Face April 23, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Have fun saying "I told you so" When your children are living in the intolerant world you've created for them. You are the worst kind of prejudice because you actually believe that you're not. If you have a friend who is Islamic than you are acknowledging the fact that Muslims already live here, building a Mosque isn't changing anything now is it?
lee April 30, 2012 at 12:39 AM
janice borkenhagen August 29, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Lee seems to be one of the very few who makes any sense. Haven't any of the rest of you heard of the Islamic troubles in Dearborn?...or London...or Australia? You'll need to wake up or it will bitch-slap you into awareness when it's too late to protest.


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