Significant Council Achievements
Wed, 16 Jan 2008 18:33:19 GMT
Over the course of its relatively short history, the Council has achieved several significant milestones. The first accomplishment was the Council's work to cultivate an open, collegial forum for Chicago area Muslim leaders to share ideas and concerns and collectively resolve problems. From time to time, based on emerging needs in the community, the Council has also actively facilitated the formation of new organizations, such as the Muslim Civil Rights Center and, most recently, the Organization of Islamic Speakers.
Through its outreach efforts on behalf of its members, the Council has formed invaluable relationships with several faith-based groups, including: the Archdiocese of Chicago; Protestants for the Common Good; the Chicago Board of Rabbis; the Catholic Theological Union; other religious constituencies, including Methodists, Presbyterians, and Unitarians; and faith-based civic groups, such as the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), and the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR). Consequently, a significant portion of the interfaith dialogue in the Chicago area between Muslims and people of other faiths takes place under the auspices of the Council.
Additionally, the Council has successfully collaborated on major cooperative projects with leading Chicago institutions. Among these: the historic "Chicagoans & Islam" gathering in Nov. '02 with United Power for Action & Justice (where, for the first time in the history of America, each of about 2500 American Muslims interacted on a one-to-one basis with fellow Americans from other faiths); many prominent interfaith events across the region, held independently and with partners like NCCJ, CPWR and the Office of Cardinal George; and prominent Press Conferences addressing a variety of topics including hate crimes, post 9-11 backlash, racial profiling, violation of civil rights of Americans and immigrants, with partners like the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), NCCJ, the Offices of City of Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley, Illinois Gov. George Ryan and the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, Terry Hillard.
The Council has also been instrumental in successfully uniting Muslims from across the United States and Canada for the annual conventions of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a world-renowned federation of North American Muslim organizations. The Council has been an indispensable partner with ISNA in organizing and managing the conventions, particularly the many conventions held in Chicago during the 1990s. In recent years, the ISNA annual convention has become one of the world's largest gatherings of Muslims, attended by approximately 50,000 people. During the Chicago conventions, the Council has also assumed full responsibility for organizing and hosting all interfaith events held during the convention.
In 2000, the Council established a high quality monthly publication, The Chicago Muslim, a newsletter devoted to addressing the entire Muslim community in the Chicago area.
In December 2001, the Council collaborated with the Office of Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley, to implement Chicago's first ever Islamic display, that was on display during the 2001-2002 holiday season at Daley Plaza, in the heart of downtown Chicago, along with Christian and Jewish holiday displays.
In recent months, the Council actively assisted the Chicago Police Department in the development and production of a diversity video to train and sensitize police officers and other security personnel, especially those assigned to Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, about the concerns of Muslim-Americans subjected to security searches at airports and other facilities. This video has been resoundingly successful and, based on requests by police departments across the U.S., appears set for broad national use. The Council is responding to increasing requests for such sensitivity training assistance from the Police Dept. as well as other government agencies, such as the I.N.S.
The Council's effective co-hosting of the annual ISNA conventions and especially its forceful post-Sept. 11 advocacy on behalf of the Muslim community has gained it national prominence among Muslim organizations. The Council routinely manages requests for participation from local & national organizations and media outlets on issues relating to Islam and Muslims. Illustratively, the Council recently hosted a visiting delegation of international Muslim scholars and leaders from the Muslim World League, a distinguished international NGO that serves as an observer to the United Nations.
Drawing upon its long-term relationships with Chicago's leaders, the Council arranged, at short notice, elaborate luncheon and dinner programs for the delegation with leading academics, top government leaders, interfaith and civic partners, a well-received press conference, as well as meetings with editorial staff at prominent local print and broadcast media outlets.
Back to top