Coming soon to a small American town near you. Get ready to hear the call to prayer blaring from speakers in your town.
After an hour and a half of fiery discussion, including comments from two dozen speakers, and before an audience of more than 120 people, the Wilson Town Board voted unanimously Monday night to grant a conditional use permit for Sheboygan County’s first mosque.
With the approval, Mohammad Hamad, the Imam, or spiritual leader, of the local Muslim community, said the first worship service at the former Tom’s of Wisconsin health food store at 9110 Sauk Trail Road would be held Friday, the traditional day of worship for Muslims.
Hamad said he was happy the process was over.
“I believe right now we have to focus on the future and put this harsh talk behind us,” Hamad said after the meeting.
“I was a little surprised at the misunderstanding” about Islam and the local Muslim community, he said, adding but the mosque will help open a door to better understanding.”
The proposal had drawn large crowds over the last several months to town Plan Commission meetings and several hundreds to public forums at local churches and other locations, with some saying the U.S. Constitutional guarantee of freedom of worship dictated approval while others said the mosque could attract Islamic fundamentalists and even terrorists to the area.