Carmel mosque plans prompt petition, meeting with neighbors

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A local Islamic foundation proposing a mosque in Carmel plans to hold a public meeting to answer questions and concerns.

The Al Salam Foundation is running into early backlash from neighbors at 141st Street and Shelbourne Road, near the proposed mosque site. The foundation plans to buy the land and build the mosque if the city gives the group the green light.

John Haskell, who lives across the street from the field, said he was debating Thursday whether to join more than 1,000 people who signed an online petition opposing the mosque.

“It’s simply incongruous with the surrounding property,” Haskell said. “All you have to do is take a look over there and you kind of innately know that any structure other than a house is out of place.”

The petition states concerns about increased traffic and noise.

“Traffic will not be anymore than any other church in the neighborhood,” said Ashhar Madni of the Al Salam Foundation.

He said the neighbors won’t hear noise from the mosque and “any call to prayer will be inside the building.”

“I think we expected some opposition,” Madni said. “Any time there’s a new thing coming into the community, there’s people for and against.”

Madni said the foundation has revised their initial plans and brought the top of the structure down from 70 feet tall to below 35 feet tall.

The Al Salam Foundation is scheduled to host a public meeting for neighbors this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Carmel Christian Church.

“People might be a little concerned with this Islamic center coming into their backyard, but we actually will make sure that we are a very good neighbor,” Madni said.

Madni said the mosque closest to that neighborhood is located at 56th Street and Georgetown Road. His congregation is currently meeting in a rented building too small for their members, according to Mandi.

Haskell said his opinion has nothing to do with Islam.

“It doesn’t matter what it is,” Haskell said. “It could be a Methodist church. It’s a residential area. Period.”

Madni said the foundation could get the green light on the project as early as Jan. 22: That’s when the city’s zoning board will meet to take a look at the plan.