Harvard Residents Reach Out to Muslims After City Council Rejects Bid for Islamic Boarding School

August 24, 2005

Source: Chicago Tribune


On August 24, 2005 the Chicago Tribune reported, "After a plan to bring an Islamic boarding school to Harvard was rejected by the City Council and neighbors who hired an attorney to block it, some residents reached out to the Muslim foundation recently with a unique offer. The Harvard Human Relations Commission, working with a local real estate agent, sent the Ibrahim Educational Foundation listings of four properties for sale in town and asked the group to give the city another chance. Janie Galarza, chairwoman of the commission, said she felt the city treated the Muslims poorly and wants them to know that many residents would welcome their school. It was just a matter of finding the right location, she said... Originally, Hamid and Mazher Ahmed of Batavia, who sit on the foundation's board, wanted to buy a vacant brick church that sits at the end of Old Orchard Road, a winding street in a residential neighborhood. Mayor Jay Nolan lives across the street from the church. Expecting some opposition, the Ahmeds held an open house at the church in April and invited neighbors to meet with them, but no one showed up. A few weeks later, however, about 70 neighbors and residents packed a public hearing, with an attorney to oppose the plan to convert the church and its parsonage into a boarding school for Muslim boys. Mazher Ahmed said she was grateful for the new offer but is reluctant to return to Harvard."

See also: Islam, Campus, Zoning