CAIR-Chicago Co-Hosts Jewish-Muslim Arts Event – Cafe Finjan

cafe.finjan.girlsOn Thursday, February 4, CAIR-Chicago co-hosted Cafe Finjan, an interfaith arts and culture event coordinated by the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative (JMCBI). The event aims to bring together Jews and Muslims from across the Chicago area. CAIR-Chicago, a JMCBI partner organization, has taken part in this eight year old art exchange since 2005.

This year’s Cafe Finjan was hosted by Loyola University – Chicago (LUC), and was attended by more than 160 people. The theme, “2020 Vision”, referred to a common vision for the future (specifically for the year 2020), as well as clarity of vision with regards to the challenges facing these communities today. Performances included skits, musical acts and spoken word poetry. This venue of art provided a way for the two communities to define their own identities while discovering their commonalities.

CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Coordinator, Gerald Hankerson, read a poem by Laila Muhammad entitled “Colors”. Watch his performance HERE.

In addition to performances, attendees also participated in interactive group discussions on the topics of identity, stereotypes, and looking “beyond tomorrow.”  Hankerson and CAIR-Chicago Outreach Intern Maryam Arfeen helped facilitate these discussions which centered on unity, cooperation, and actions that can be taken to create a greater understanding between Chicago’s Jewish and Muslim communities.

“It was a great event,” said Arfeen. “The small groups provided a great opportunity to involve guests in the event’s theme while the performances helped create a casual, comfortable atmosphere.”

The event took place at Loyola’s Mundelein Center. Other sponsors included Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals (CAMP-Chicago), Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN), Loyola’s Hillel, Muslim Students Association at LUC, the LUC Department of Fine and Performing Arts, and the LUC Department of Ministry.

To learn more how you can become involved with JMCBI, please visit