Mosque welcomes Gladstone Park neighbors





by BRIAN NADIG

Members of the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association at its July 26 meeting learned about the meaning of Islam from members of the Chicago Mosque, 6201 W. Peterson Ave.

The mosque, which opened last year inside the former Faith Lutheran Church, has a membership of about 30 families, including many individuals who came to the United States from Morocco in the late1990s or early 2000s. The 60-minute meeting at the mosque was followed by a dinner for both association and mosque members.

Mohammed Boucanna, a community outreach volunteer for the mosque, told the association that Muslims are expected to follow the five pillars of Islam: making a declaration of faith, fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, praying five times a day, taking a pilgrimage to Mecca and giving a portion of their wealth for charity.

“The five pillars are necessary but not enough. You also should be a good person,” Boucanna said. “An act of kindness is obligated upon us.”

Boucanna said that Islam recognizes that several prophets, including Muhammad, Jesus and Moses, have been sent to call upon people to worship God and that the followers of Islam should respect those of other faiths. “There’s no imposing on others to embrace Islam. It’s up to the person to embrace,” he said.

“Our faith is not solely geared toward Muslims. It’s geared toward humankind,” Boucanna said. “This is a melting pot, a very diverse society. I work with all faiths. The message is to worship God and be a good human being.”

One association member expressed concern that the meeting’s turnout of about a dozen association members was lower than usual because some residents may have been apprehensive about coming to a mosque. The man said that turnout would be higher at a future meeting if more residents become aware that members of the mosque want to feel part of the community and work with all faiths.

Also at the meeting, it was reported that the Zoning Board of Appeals at its July 15 meeting approved a special use request to allow an outdoor patio with a canopy on the second floor of the Garage Bar and Sandwiches, 6154 N. Milwaukee Ave.

It also was announced that the association is seeking volunteers for the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce’s “Throwback Music Fest” the weekend of Sept. 9-11 on Milwaukee Avenue between Elston Avenue and Peterson Avenue. The 1980s tribute band 16 Candles and the Buckinghams are among the music headliners for the festival, and plans are being made for children’s activities, such as a hula hoop contest, that reflect different decades.

The chamber and association will hold a networking event at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at Jet’s Public House, 6148 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Also, it was reported that the planned repaving of a portion of Seminole Avenue in Gladstone Park was expanded to include the section of roadway between Moody Avenue and Northwest Highway due to its poor condition.

The association has a Facebook page and can be reached at friendsofgladstonepark@yahoo.com. Association membership is $20 per person.

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