2016 Banquet – Thank You for the Success! [PHOTOS]

Dear CAIR-Chicago Supporters,

On behalf of our board of directors, staff, and volunteers, we wish to thank you for making our 12th Annual Banquet a memorable and enjoyable evening! The feedback has been positive with some suggesting that this was one of the most diverse Muslim galas in Chicago. We were humbled by the buzz on social media following the event using our hashtag #Up4theChallenge.

Watch TV Coverage:

The event that was covered by ABC 7 News.

Photo Gallery:

Find yourself in our photo gallery

CAIR-Chicago 12th Annual Banquet

postgala-email-image5-1View the captivating images from our banquet.

Photos are courtesy of professional and talented photographers: Hossam El-Shikh, Alexis O’Connor, and Solomon Collins.


We are grateful to have SOLD OUT at over 1000 attendees representing the diversity in Chicagoland and the tri-state area, in terms of ethnicity, age, gender, and profession.


This year professional security was provided by AASI Public Safety, we extend a deep thanks to their dedication to the safety our community.


We are also thankful for the tremendous support of our key partners from the Chicagoland mosques, coalitions, interfaith groups, companies, as well as our official sponsors (see list here).


This year, the event was star-studded with many special speakers: For the first time ever we added a musician to the lineup, Syrian asylee and nationally honored violinist, Mariela Shaker enchanted the crowd with her powerful story and beautiful music. Later in the night, activist Linda Sarsour keynoted with a passionate speech about the importance of being unapologetically Muslim. The dynamic evening was emceed by CAIR-Florida’s Executive Director Hassan Shibly. And Ahmed Rehab and Dr. Mazen Kudaimi delivered a keen reminder of our commitment to supporting the cause of civil rights.

CAIR-Chicago was also happy to welcome honorary guest and former Wheaton Christian College Professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins, who addressed the Muslim community for the first time and received a touching extended standing ovation. She emphasized the importance of “embodied solidarity.”

See Video of our Banquet speakers on YouTube >>


We wish to thank the 75 public officials including Senator Durbin, ten congressmen, Mayor Emanuel, and a record breaking number of state, city, and county officials who sent us letters of support this year, and those officials who attended our banquet including the consul generals of several countries.

See all the letters in our 2015 Annual Report >>


This year’s banquet was presided over by 100 staff and volunteers who were hard to miss all decked out in their green and black uniforms! We wish to thank the amazing volunteers who worked incredibly hard to present the community with an evening befitting of its stature.

The Film:

One of the most talked about segments of the evening was the new CAIR-Chicago documentary Up for the Challenge. Escalating the high caliber set by last year’s documentary, this year’s film highlights the fears and hopes of young American-Muslims. After all it is for the next generation that we rise to overcome today’s challenges. We wish to thank our amazing friend and filmmaker Ahmed Hamad from Gaza for helping us bring our vision to screen. Watch “Up for the Challenge” in HD on our YouTube channel.


We were significantly short of our fundraising goal, please help us get closer by donating here. Our faith and confidence is steadfast. With your support, we believe we will get there. It was touching to see the names and organizations on our pledge list – those who never falter in heeding the call even in tough times. CAIR-Chicago is dependent on the support of our mosques, partner organizations and the community to continue our work in civil rights advocacy and, unfortunately, we fell short of our fundraising goal. Please help us meet our goal by donating online today.


We wish to thank you all once again. Our work could not succeed without your support. You came in large numbers as a strong, united community. You made our 12th Annual Banquet a memorable one. Thanks for all of you who wanted to come but could not and supported us via our online donation page.

Please stay tuned to our website!

– The CAIR-Chicago Team


Photography by Hossam El-Shikh, Alexis O’Connor, and Solomon Collins.