Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg profiles Chicago’s diverse Muslim community in time for the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.
On Sunday, November 6th, Muslims all over the world and in America will commemorate the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, or the Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations. It is one of the most important Islamic holidays of the year. Each year, some two million Muslims, including thousands of American Muslims, go for the Hajj pilgrimage.
“It’s basically the ideal zoning application for DuPage County, with absolutely no controversy surrounding it,” said Amina Sharif, communications coordinator with the Chicago Council on American-Islamic Relations. “The area where it’s located is already commercially zoned, next to a synagogue, and there is more than adequate parking there. If the DuPage County Board had rejected this, then we’d have an obvious problem. This is a very easy thing to approve.”
“In Islam, people may pray for “justice, prosperity, for the nation and its leaders,” said Ahmed Rehab. “Getting people from different faiths to pray together for the common good, the good of our nation, is positive.”
The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations yesterday filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court on behalf of 49 Muslims of Somali heritage who were fired from a meat packing plant in Nebraska.
The lawsuit intervenes in a class action filed by the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in August on behalf of more than 200 Somali factory workers from the Swift Co. plant in Grand Island, Nebraska.
With Pastor Terry Jones’ “Burn A Koran Day” fiasco and the ongoing Park51 debate taking center stage in the media, CAIR-Chicago is taking action. We are challenging misinformation and anti-Muslim rhetoric through interfaith and outreach efforts to educate the public. You may have also seen us in the news recently, adding balanced and informed perspectives to public discourse.
“This is the holiest day for Muslims out of the year,” said Amina Sharif, communications coordinator for CAIR-Chicago. “And since this year it falls so close to 9/11, it’s an opportunity for us to discuss tolerance and peace. It’s a day that we pray for those who are struggling around the world, and that includes the families of 9/11 victims.”
A measure that could streamline the process of establishing places of worship and other forms of assembly in unincorporated DuPage County is heading to the zoning panel that recently has taken up two zoning proposals from Islamic groups.
CAIR-Chicago Staff Attorney Kevin Vodak talks to the Naperville Sun about recent developments in the Irshad Learning Center’s lawsuit against Dupage County.
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