Mosque’s design is OK’d by city council

This building at Jos. Campau and Caniff will be re-designed as a mosque and will feature minarets on top.


By Charles Sercombe

          After being denied twice, the proposed mosque at Jos. Campau and Caniff can go ahead with new design plans.

          Several months ago the leaders of the Al Islah Mosque were told to go back to the drawing board because they wanted to cover up most of the windows at the building.

          That design did not conform to the city’s zoning requirements that say at least 70 percent of the windows in the commercial zone must be transparent. Mosque leaders came back and claimed that historically the building had fewer windows than it does now.

          But Community & Economic Development Director Jason Friedmann said an old photo of the building confirmed that the existing windows had been there all along.

          That meant the designer of the mosque had to come up with a new site plan to conform to the city’s requirements.

          Now, the new design includes open windows, Friedmann said.

          The city council approved the design at Tuesday’s meeting.

          Friedmann said the design includes minarets on top of the building.

          “It’s pretty interesting,” Friedmann said of the proposed design. “It’s going to make for a dramatic gateway into town.”

          He said the exterior redo will cost about $275,000. Work will first begin inside the two-story building.

          The location of the mosque has caused some controversy. It first had to receive what’s called a “variance” of use by the Zoning Board of Appeals because all buildings along Jos. Campau are designated only for commercial purposes.

          A mosque, as well as other religious centers and non-profit agencies, is exempt from paying taxes.

          The Zoning Board, whose members are appointed by the city council, approved the mosque. There are now three mosques in a one-block area at Jos. Campau and Caniff.

          The mosques could have an impact on the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival. The alcohol drinking area — including the main stage — of the festival is in front of all three mosques which go from Caniff to Holmes St.

          If the mosques object to the consumption of alcohol in front of their establishments, the festival will be forced to relocate the drinking area 500 feet north of Holmes St.


6 Responses to Mosque’s design is OK’d by city council

  1. Roger Lamm

    July 10, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Aside from the fact that supposedly religious buildings are not allowed in the commercial district ( but then when do we follow the city bylaws, they’re such a nuisance!) since its not a commercial building, the commercial guidelines dont apply to it.

  2. Only the facts

    July 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

    It was only a few short years ago when the city made national news with the Mosque across the alley and their “call to prayer” and the volume of “call”.
    Now in the cities leaders infinite wisdom they are allowing a Mosque in the heart of the cities business district??? Are they crazy or just stupid?
    Add to that the fact that taxes will never be collected on that property again but they ARE concerned with the design of the structure…..I don’t know….I’m now at a loss for words.

  3. Karen Majewski

    July 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

    It is not the decision of one group or person, but a process of decisions by various bodies working within the boundaries of the laws governing their particular area of responsibility. Here’s how the process works: The mosque had to go the the Zoning Board of Appeals for a use variance. The ZBA members are appointed by city council. The ZBA granted the variance, working, I’m sure, on the basis of information they were given a couple of years ago about the rights of religious institutions in relation to city zoning restrictions. The mosque then had to come to the Plan Commission with its building site plans. The Plan Commission is appointed by the mayor. The Plan Commission’s only job is to make sure that the building site plans themselves conform to the city zoning ordinance. It does not have authority to allow or disallow the use itself. That was up to the ZBA. The Plan Commission sent the mosque back to the drawing board to modify its plans to bring it into conformity. When plans were brought back to Plan that met the zoning ordinance specifications, the Plan Commission passed a recommendation that City Council approve the plan. It was then City Council’s job to accept or not accept the Plan Commission’s recommendation. City Council did vote to accept the recommendation and approve the building site plan.

  4. Larry A. Singleton

    July 20, 2013 at 5:34 am

    “If the mosques object to the consumption of alcohol in front of their establishments, the festival will be forced to relocate the drinking area 500 feet north of Holmes St.”


    The Muslims come to town and the town council bends over. Robert Spencer is dead on: “Once again we see that wherever Islamic custom and practice conflict with American custom and practice, the latter must give way.”

    I was going to say there is only one word for this; Treason. Unfortunately I could spend the rest of the night adding others. Like Appeasement. Cowardice, Collaboration. Sedition…..

    “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last. Victory will never be found by taking the line of least resistance.” Winston Churchill

    “What the horn is to the rhinoceros, what the sting is to the wasp, the Mohammedan faith is to the Arabs of the Sudan-a faculty of offence. All the warlike operations of Mohammedan peoples are characterised by fanatacism” Winston Churchill

    “While Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees and Jews, along with several million adherents of an animistic religion, all coexisted in relative harmony, one religion that would not accept compromise stood out from the rest: Islam.” Mahatma Gandhi

    “we may describe it, (jihad), as a surgeon’s lancet and not a butcher’s knife.” Mahmoud Mohammed Taha (I’m sure there are about 200 million dead people that would disagree with him. And this from the guy who’s been called the Mahatma Ghandi of Islam.) Read Slavery, Terrorism and Islam (and Holocaust in Rwanda) by Peter Hammond. And The Haj by Leon Uris.

    About two years ago I ordered some reading material, including Taha’s “Second Message”, and a “study” Koran to find out what this “Islam thing” was all about. When I was sixteen I was chanting nam yo ho renge kyo to a piece of paper, (gahonzen?), having NO idea what I was doing. A few years later I hitchhiked cross country, got saved in Nashville Tenn. and went to live on a Christian farm in Mansfield Ohio. My gra’mom called me a “seeker”. As I said, there came a time when I wanted to understand this “religion of peace”. It was Humaid’s article on jihad I found in my Summarized Bukhari that decided “things” for me.

    If Islam is the “religion of peace”, where in Sheikh Abdullah bin Humaid’s article on jihad can I find the equivalent of “Love Thy Neighbor” and “good will toward men”? And explain its prominence, and significance almost as an “Introduction”, in a book that’s described as “the most authentic and true among the books of the Prophet”: My Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari. Also address “jihad” as it’s defined in Reliance of the Traveller and answer the same question. (Chapter O-9.0: Jihad O: “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion.” And explain why the “greater” jihad is only mentioned once here and never seen again in this “Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law”.) Also compare Humaid’s “jihad” and Emmet Fox’ Sermon on the Mount and tell me which one best represents a spirit of Love and compassion. Lastly; would you pick Sheik bin Humaid to sit on a Human Rights Commission? (That’s a trick question by the way.)

    Maybe you can throw in an explanation of the Jews are “monkeys, pigs and rats” on page 656 and the part where Mo says, “if somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him” on page 613 in the chapter on Jihad.

    Also, explain why Humaid’s “jihad” shouldn’t be “Exhibit A” in refuting the “religion of peace” claim.

    Jihad in the Qur’an and Sunnah by ‘Sheikh Abdullâh bin Muhammad bin Humaid ),

    Subscribe to Jihad/Campus Watch and the Middle East Forum/Quarterly, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and read Raymond Ibrahim and others.

  5. Lin

    July 20, 2013 at 10:46 am

    “If the mosques object to the consumption of alcohol in front of their establishments, the festival will be forced to relocate . . . ”

    Pardon me, but it’s the TOWN’s festival, the TOWN’s street and the TOWN’s laws that are operative here. Why in the world would the festival need to relocate?

  6. Pedro Martinez

    July 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Holy cow, Hamtramck also allows the call to prayer to be broadcast! You know, the Muslim prayer that says that there is no god but allah etc.

    That is isn’t the same as content-free musical church bells, it actually has a religious meaning. I trully hope that someone sues Karen Majewski et al for this as some point. She claims the law is ‘neutral’, but what other religion is as aggressive as broadcasting into the public space that their god is the only god? No, this isn’t neutral surely someone should take it to federal court.

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