“America was founded on freedom of religion and the current rhetoric is not consistent with American ideals,” said U.S. Senator Richard “Dick” Durbin, at the 24thAnnual Community Dinner, hosted by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) last Saturday, October 29th, 2016 at Shalimar Banquets in Addison. “Muslims are a valued part of American society and so I ask you not to give up on America,” added Senator Durbin, who holds the second highest position in the Democratic Party Senate leadership.
Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, who is the first Hispanic and first Latina Lieutenant Governor in Illinoi’s history, also expressed support for the Chicago Muslim community and a deep interest in CIOGC’s Illinois Muslim Action Day (IMAD) during which Chicago Muslim leaders, community members, and youth spend a day in Springfield, meeting with State legislators.
Award-winning comedian, Dean Obeidallah, in his entertaining keynote address on the importance of civic engagement by the American Muslim community, expressed appreciation for the unique personality of the Chicago Muslim community. “This is the most diverse Muslim event I have ever been to. It is like a rainbow. It’s beautiful,” he added.
CIOGC’s signature “Top Muslim Achiever” awards were presented to Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid of Sound Vision and Halil Demir of Zakat Foundation of America. “By presenting this award to these highly accomplished individuals, CIOGC acknowledges our community’s pride in their contributions to society. Each year, CIOGC selects Top Muslim Achievers from among the numerous nominations it receives, based upon the candidates’ accomplishments in their respective professional fields. Past awardees have included Talat Othman, Mahrukh Hussain, Dr. Mahmoud Ismail, Asif Rahman and Ash-har Quraishi,” stated CIOGC Chair Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin.
In her welcoming remarks, CIOGC Executive Director Tabassum Haleem emphasized the organization’s focus on youth. “Our Youth Department has continued to strengthen the ties of American Muslim youth among themselves and with other communities,” stated Ms. Haleem. “Through leadership building workshops like Muslim Mentoring Youth, networking opportunities within CIOGC’s Muslim Youth of Chicago (MY Chi), and all-day arts and entertainment events like the Muslim Youth Expo, our young men and women are developing their American-Muslim identities and emerging as tomorrow’s leaders,” she added.
The CIOGC Dinner Committee Co-Chairs, Tasneem Osmani and and Gazala Rahman, reflected on the uniqueness of each gathering at different annual events and stated that some elements never change. “Whether we hold this event in the city or in the suburbs, we have always attracted diverse segments of the Muslim community. Even our volunteers, who number close to 50 adults and youth, come from various ethnic backgrounds in making this event extremely successful,” they stated.
The event was attended by over 700 guests from different walks of life. Among the dignitaries in attendance were Consul General Faisal Niaz Tirmizi of Pakistan, Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed of India and Vice Counsel General Safa Sert of Turkey. Several elected officials, including Governor Bruce Rauner, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, State Senator Jackie Collins, and DuPage County Board President Dan Cronin, could not attend but sent letters of support to CIOGC.
Seeking to connect with Chicago area Muslims, the following candidates for various public offices were also present: Raja Krishnamoorthi (8th U.S. Congressional District of Illinois), Amanda Howland (6th U.S. Congressional District of Illinois), Nancy Shepherdson (Democratic State Central Committeewoman 6th Congressional District of Illinois), Moon Khan (DuPage County Recorder of Deeds), Michelle Gale (DuPage County Auditor), Deborah Bullwinkle (Village of Villa Park President), Nasir Jahangir (Democratic Party Chair Wayne Township), Laurie Nowak (DuPage County Board Member),and Khizar Jafri (DuPage County Board Member).
We extend our great appreciation to our 2016 Annual CommUnity Dinner sponsors:
Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN)
Muslim Community Center (MCC)
Zakat Foundation of America
Downtown Islamic Center (DIC)
Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD)
Al Bawadi Grill
Tweets about CIOGC’s 24th Annual CommUnity Dinner