Meet the Baker Family
The characters of Mosque Alert introduce themselves in their own words by telling us a bit about who they are, the Naperville community in which they live, and their thoughts about the proposed Al Andalus Library and Community Center.
ABOUT ME: I’m a silver linings kind of guy. I’m all about win-win.
ABOUT MY COMMUNITY: Naperville is a polite, welcoming, educated community; but, human beings are wired to fear change! Especially now, with how fast things are changing. Not everyone’s as agile as my kids. A lot of people see their entire world changing in ways they never signed off on.
ABOUT AL ANDALUS: I’m on record supporting Al Andalus! But there’s a lot of pushback out there and it’s taking a toll. I can’t guarantee a favorable outcome on this one. The fear is that this mosque may scare people off. Business owners won’t say so publicly because you know how minorities love to accuse the white man of being racist.
ABOUT ME: Sometimes I feel like life is a play and I only get cast in the supporting roles. I’m like this foil advancing everyone else’s stories. I want to break out of my limitations. I want to reinvent myself.
ABOUT MY COMMUNITY: What I mean to say is that the Muslims here in Naperville are the good Muslims. They’re doctors, lawyers, engineers. They’re not like those people overseas.
ABOUT AL ANDALUS: Bad for business? Why that’s ridiculous. Imagine all that foot traffic on Friday afternoons? We all know how those Muslim women love to shop. And it’ll be a bonanza for restaurant owners. Friday afternoon halal lunch specials.
ABOUT ME: I’m at The University of Chicago. Relationships are theoretical. I could sure use a matchmaker parading a hundred would be husbands before me.
ABOUT MY COMMUNITY: You know what the problem with Naperville is? It’s a living laboratory on how to resist change. Then again, it’s great for field work, seeing we have a vocal majority in this town who are scared shitless of change.
ABOUT AL ANDALUS: Queer kids get bullied in school. Muslim kids get bullied in school. Queers stuffer violent hate crimes. Muslims suffer violent hate crimes. Oppression is oppression. The whole struggle for Al Andalus is rooted in revolution.
ABOUT ME: I just returned from junior year abroad. Ooh la la. Paris, c’est magnifique. Amazing. Intense. Life changing. And it was great disconnecting from my friends here and their ridiculous lives.
ABOUT MY COMMUNITY: Readjustment is hard. I wasn’t ready to come back. Compared to Paris, everything in Naperville is so petty and boring and suffocating. They say one year abroad is like five years at home.
ABOUT AL ANDALUS: Frankly, some Muslims do look downright scary. They do. I’m sorry. I’ll see someone who looks suspicious, this siren goes off in my head, and then I have to remind myself that I have Muslim friends. I’m not proud of those thoughts. I’m just being honest.
ABOUT ME: Let's just say my family and I disagree on some political issues. I’m still fighting to make America a better place for them, even if they can’t see it.
ABOUT MY COMMUNITY: Do not underestimate sentimental value. Even people who like the idea of a downtown Naperville mosque don’t want it at Old Nichols. They see it for what it is - a provocation. Almost everyone I know has memories of that library.
ABOUT AL ANDALUS: Can’t you see that the Muslims here in Naperville are laughing at us? The Old Nichols Library is nothing but a victory mosque for them. A much beloved local landmark that they’re trying to conquer for Islam. Unless we wake up and start implementing plans to save our civilization, you had better believe the Muslims are going to destroy us.