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updated: 8/14/2012 5:22 PM

Kane County OKs mosque despite protest from neighbors

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In what supporters called a "defining moment" that may help prevent future acts of violence against Muslims, Kane County Board members Tuesday approved the creation of a new mosque just west of Carpentersville. In doing so, the board rejected a formal legal protest by the owners of L&H Farm, a property that will now be a neighbor to the mosque on three sides.

Farm owners objected to the mosque with increased traffic concerns on Huntley Road. Farm owners believe the more intense use of the property the mosque will be built on might force them to construct a driveway or street access from the farm property. The owners also believed the religious institution wouldn't be compatible with nearby land uses. A single-family home will be converted for use as a mosque under the plan. That plan includes a 750-foot addition to accommodate up to 80 people.

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County board members had already rejected the concerns of the farm via several committee meetings. But the formal protest triggered a three-quarters majority vote by the county board, 20 out of 26 votes, to pass. That was potentially tricky because the county board has had attendance problems in the past. Board members Donnell Collins, John Hoscheit and Monica Silva missed Tuesday's meeting, but the project received "yes" votes from the remaining 23 board members present.

Fazal Khan, president of the American Muslim Community Organization, said tremendous good will come of the county board's decision.

"Besides helping our community, providing a place to worship, there is another need that is becoming more and more apparent -- the need for education," Khan said.

"The acts of absolute ignorance that we've seen in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Missouri and now even Chicago, where there have been two incidents just recently, it's obvious that education is needed. You don't eliminate ignorance by running, hiding or even fighting. You educate. You build a community center so people can see who you really are."

The mosque will be the first of its kind in the northern Kane County and southern McHenry County area.

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