The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (the Council) is the unifying force that brings together a wonderfully diverse American Muslim community in the greater Chicago region, Northern Illinois, and now increasingly, all of Illinois!
The American Muslim community in Illinois is diverse. Within the Council one can find a wide array of ethnicities, races and cultures including African Americans, Nigerians, South Asians, Arabs, Bosnians, Albanians, Turks, Latinos, Caucasians and much more. The Council brings these extraordinary communities together in cooperation and collaboration with one another and with the interfaith community and with community organizations, the academy and the public sector in general.
Building Stronger Communities
For many American Muslims the mosque is the hub of religious life. It is a place to pray and worship. Over the years, however, mosques have become much more. Today mosques also offer weekend religious schools for children, sports activities, social and educational gatherings for adults and meeting places for picnics and other fun and wholesome activities.
Today mosques find themselves challenged to do even more. Within the Council there are mosques that provide pre-marital and marital counseling, parenting workshops and other social services for the community. The Council sponsors programs in cooperation with other mosques and Muslim institutions to help educate the community and train mosque leaders in the importance of expanding mosque services and in the nuts and bolts of how to do go about doing it.
Networking, Working for the Common Good
Many times during the year the Council organizes networking opportunities for American Muslims throughout the region to come together. These meetings, often held at the mosques and Islamic centers of member organizations, highlight the host community while creating a dynamic platform for people to share activities, accomplishments and ideas.
Through the Council, American Muslims from varying backgrounds and from across the region join hands to work on projects that positively impact the Muslim community and the broader Illinois and American communities as well! Over the years these projects included hunger alleviation through food drives, organizing for immigration reform, public policy advocacy in Springfield for “Charity without Fear”, taxi cab driver rights and civil liberties.
Working in Coalitions, Interfaith Partnerships
The Council not only builds and nurtures unity within the American Muslim community, but it also leverages the strength that comes with unity to work in coalitions and partnerships on shared issues and on common concerns with community-based and interfaith groups as well. This further empowers the American Muslim voice while lending its strength to the broader communities in which we live.
The Council works closely with a wide array of organizations. Some of these partners include the American Friends Service Committee, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Protestants for the Common Good, Chicago Center for Cultural Connections, United Power for Action and Justice and the Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy.
An Intelligent & Strong Voice for American Muslims
The Council actively engages in civil society. The professional staff and members of the Executive Committee, along with committee leaders and other volunteers regularly meet with elected representatives and appointed officials at all levels of government on behalf of the American Muslim community.
From roundtables organized by the Department of Homeland Security to meetings with the Human Rights Commission in Chicago and from private discussions with Mayor Daley to Senator Durbin, the Council is an intelligent and strong voice for American Muslims advocating for the issues and concerns of the American Muslim community.