CAIR-Chicago Government Affairs Coordinator, Shahzeen Karim and Sensitivity Training Coordinator Veronica Zapata, presented a lecture this April 10, 2008 to a group of undergraduate classmen at Loyola University regarding political activism of American Muslims and the impact Muslim organizations have had in the community. Karim and Zapata discussed the efforts by organizations such as CAIR and the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). They were guest lecturers at a class taught by sociology professor Dr. Saher Selod, who currently teaches the “Sociology of Muslims” course.
Karim discussed the gradual increase in voting patterns amid American Muslims since the 1970s. While immigrants have focused on building foundations and community centers for future generations, indigenous Muslims have tended to focus on domestic issues, such as welfare and education. Recently, American Muslims have united to apply the teachings of Islam to social justice and political responsibility, said Karim.
Zapata addressed community empowerment and organizations such as IMAN that focus on community service, social justice, and human compassion. Through various activities such as “Takin’ it to the Streets,” offering free computer classes to the public, and opening a health clinic, IMAN has demonstrated the ability to inspire the larger community towards critical civic engagement.
CAIR Civic Engagement Initiatives
CAIR’s own focus on civic engagement has successfully mobilized a growing number of politically aware and involved American Muslims and Muslims across the Chicago area. CAIR’s Government Affairs Department consistently monitors legislation and government activity, builds relationships with government officials, and works on voter education projects such as the current “Do Your Part” voting initiative, designed to further empower American Muslim participation this election season.
Copyright © 2008 CAIR-Chicago