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Islamic Society of Milwaukee Seeks to Build Mosque in Brookfield

A growing number of Muslims in the Waukesha County area and greater convenience for those families is prompting the effort to build a second location.

The Islamic Society of Milwaukee wants to build a mosque in Brookfield for its west suburban members, with hopes to eventually expand the facility to serve about 350 congregants.

Local Muslim leaders say they have outgrown their Milwaukee location and want to create a more convenient location for Waukesha County area families. The congregation size at the society's 4707 S. 13th St. location has grown from 600 people in 1999 to more than 1,500 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.

For the past decade, some west-side members have been meeting and praying at various sites in Waukesha County, including Waukesha Memorial Hospital where Friday afternoon prayers have been held since 2008.

But the proposed Brookfield mosque already has drawn concerns about traffic and religious extremists, according to a Today's TMJ4 report that drew more than 160 comments on the station's Facebook page. Most of the comments were supportive of the mosque and the Muslim community.

Phone calls to Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jeff Wagner show Wednesday afternoon were mixed, with some raising concerns about traffic and Islamic teaching and others saying it should be treated no differently and welcomed like any other religious institution seeking to build a worship facility. (The mosque issue starts at 20 minutes into the podcast.)

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 largely vacant site formerly housed Sanders C & Sons Welding.

Traffic concerns

After city officials raised concerns about the amount of traffic on Calhoun Road, the society reduced the size of its proposed facility to 12,950 square feet, according to a project overview on the society's website. However, the Islamic society hopes to expand the facility in a future second phase — after Calhoun Road is widened from two to four lanes — to add about 10,000 square feet to accommodate about 350 worshippers versus the 114 occupancy proposed in phase one.

Calhoun Road is not likely to be widened for more than a decade, City Engineer Jeff Chase told Patch Wednesday.

"We're probably 10 to 15 years away from the bulldozers coming out there," Chase said.

The city's five-year capital improvement budget proposes these annual borrowings to fund the Calhoun Road widening: $450,000 in each of 2014 and 2015, $2.3 million in 2016 and $2.85 million beyond the five-year plan.

But Chase said the most likely source of funding for the project — federal transportation grants — have been reduced due to spending on other projects. 

Traffic was an issue raised at a city Plan Commission meeting Monday as commissioners voted to schedule a public hearing on the society's request for a conditional use permit. The land is zoned for industrial uses, and a conditional use permit is required to build the mosque there.

Project costs

A public hearing may not be held until April or May. If the project is ultimately approved, the goal is to complete it by June 2013. 

Project documents indicate $206,000 has been raised toward the estimated $1.5 million mosque construction. Another $63,000 has been pledged, plus $250,000 committed by the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. Fundraising would cover the remaining project costs.

The society is working with Craig Donze, of One Source Consulting, whose wife Jennifer Donze is a former member of the Brookfield Plan Commission, as well as landscaping architects at Brookfield-based R.A. Smith National. One of the project's leaders is Mushir Hassan, a physician who lives and works in Brookfield.

The city plans to hold an informational meeting with neighbors of the proposed mosque prior to a formal public hearing before the city Plan Commission.

Matt February 15, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I went to their Milwaukee location for my philosophy of religion class. They were very welcoming and amazing at teaching their believes to us. I hope they are permitted to get their new mosque.
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) February 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Wasn't one just built in Pewaukee by the Costco & Wal-Mart? It's a huge, beautiful structure.
Lisa Sink (Editor) February 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Do you mean this Hindu Temple? http://www.hindutemplewis.org/htw/list/directions
Lyle Ruble February 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM
@Nate...That was uncalled for, lighten up.
Jill Lane February 15, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I think that's a Hindu Temple... not an Islamic Mosque.
Rick February 16, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Nate.. that was a pretty biased and ignorant statement. This is the 2nd time I have agreed with Lyle on something :) If traffic concerns are real (and not a guise for bigotry) then they should do like any business that opens and increases traffic patterns in an area…. Pay for the necessary road expansion near the site (maybe a left-turn and a right-turn lanes). As far as extremists… Huh? That isn’t worth commenting on.
Walker February 16, 2012 at 01:36 PM
The traffic is a concern but as far as Layton is concerned parking is a major problem. I live close to the 13th & Layton one & they take up every inch of parking & then some. The elderly living around there complain because they park across driveways & are just plain rude. When something is said they threaten them & tell them this is their neighborhood & they are going to buy all the property surrounding it & there's no stopping them.
AG February 17, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Hope they teach you the other half before it's too late! Hatred of the Jews and what happens if you turn from your Muslim faith, be careful.
John Casper February 17, 2012 at 01:44 PM
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." No problem with building a house of worship. The tax exempt status, however, does not make any sense.
AG February 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I visit England and my friends tell me the same stories " This is their neighborhood now " is the theme. This is more than a religion you are dealing with!
HansFritz April 13, 2012 at 12:17 PM
While they say Islam is a religion it is in all reality and to those who have come out of it a constitution. Do the JW's, the Mormons, the Catholics, the Lutherans, the Baptists have laws that allow honor killings? No. Look at Dearborn, Michigan and some of the other places where Islam has inundated the area. Read the news and look for how many young women have died at the hands of their fathers and brothers and uncles for practicing "western thinking."
anonymous April 17, 2012 at 07:09 PM
You are looking at the extreme of things, there are some Christians who are bombing Planned Parenthoods that are giving medical help to people in need, but they are not seen as terrorists for these acts of violence. At ISM they repeatedly talk about how women should be treated with respect, I have never felt disrespected or oppressed.
anonymous April 17, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Actually, the people who do that are yelled at by the iman (or priest), I was just there last week and during the service they were scolded and told 'that is not moque property you cannot park on someone else's property, if there is no more parking go park 2 or 3 block away where there is available parking and walk to the mosque'. Also there aren't really ask many Islamic families, or at least not practicing ones, many of the family's are 'Eid' family, who only show up on our holiday of Eid, it is the same as Christian families who come to church on Christmas and Easter. I live in Brookfield and it takes me 30 minutes and a lot of gas to go all the way down to Milwaukee and mosque in Brookfield would decrease all the people who have to go down to Milwaukee so there would be less people and traffic at both.
Terrance Jones April 24, 2012 at 03:39 AM
In Europe they have been swamped with Muslim immigrants. In many parts of London law enforcement is afraid to go in and in fact doesn't. Muslims close down the streets and threaten those who attempt to walk through. In Switzerland some schools recently told Jewish students they were no longer allowed to attend because they were endangering the other students because the Muslims were out of control and might come kill kids at the school if Jewish kids went there. In every country I have heard of that Muslims immigrate to they cause dissension and harm the communities. I'm not surprised that Brookfield residents worry that if a Mega Mosque is built that it will invite the same type of behaviors and issues that have been found in every other area/country where Muslims have moved to. In France a far right candidate just received a huge amount of the vote- because the French people are afraid of what the Muslims are doing to their country. It's not the American Muslims the people of Brookfield worry about, it's the immigrants who might come, with the intent not to assimilate but to dominate and in some cases to destroy.

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