Has a Casino opened in a mosque in Chicago USA?

Has a Casino opened in a mosque in Chicago USA?

Social media platforms in various Muslim-majority countries, such as Pakistan and Turkey, have been buzzing with a controversial claim: that Chicago has opened a casino in a building strikingly reminiscent of a mosque, even featuring a wooden inscription of the kalama tayyaba at its entrance. Adding fuel to the fire, this edifice has been christened "Medinah Temple," sparking outrage among many who perceive it as a deliberate affront to the Muslim community.

While it is true that the casino exists and bears these resemblances, a deeper exploration of the building's history reveals that its opening might not have been an intentional act to provoke Muslims. The Medinah Temple, with its historic roots dating back to 1912, was originally designed as an ornate auditorium with a seating capacity of approximately 4,200 on three levels. This Moorish-style amphitheater was the brainchild of architects Huehl and Schmidt and was even used for recording symphonies in the 1960s. Importantly, throughout its existence, it has never served as a mosque.

So, why does Medinah Temple bear such a strong resemblance to a mosque, and why is it referred to as a "temple"? The answer lies in its origins; the building was erected by the Shriners, a branch of the Freemasonry organization known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. This particular group embraced a Middle Eastern aesthetic and, like many other Freemasonry branches, chose to label their buildings as "temples."

This nomenclature accounts for the temple's name. It is worth noting that Shriners have constructed other buildings in the United States with Middle Eastern themes, and following the tragic events of 9/11, they faced unwarranted harassment due to misconceptions about their affiliation with Islam.

In conclusion, while the resemblance between the Medinah Temple and a mosque is undeniable, its history suggests that the intentions behind its establishment were not aimed at offending the Muslim community. Rather, it stands as a historical artifact of architectural and cultural influences that have shaped its design and nomenclature over the years. Understanding the context and origins of such structures can help dispel misconceptions and foster greater cultural sensitivity