CIOGC organized a press conference to call out Mr. Donald Trump for his radical statements regarding the banning of all Muslims from entering the United States and deeming his words irresponsible, opportunistic and un-American. Channels ABC 7, CBS Local, Channel 9 and NBC Local were present. Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin, CIOGC Chair, Ms. Tabassum Haleem, CIOGC Executive Director, Shahnawaz Khan, CIOGC Board Director, LaDale George, board member and attorney at the Muslim Bar Association, and Reem Hobeldin, CIOGC Programs and Graphics Manager, all spoke. The press conference was held on Tuesday, December 9 at the CIOGC Office and Downtown Islamic Center.
Mr. Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” at a South Carolina rally on Monday, December 8. He cited fears of terrorist attacks. Several leaders reacted strongly to his latest provocations. “As an American, I’m very embarrassed,” said Ms. Tabassum Haleem. “I disagree with Donald Trump’s rhetoric,” Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider expressed in his statement. “Islam is not the enemy. Radical Islam is the enemy. The United States is the greatest country in the world because it was founded upon the principle of religious freedom, and no threat or political event can weaken that principle. We must defeat Radical Islamic Extremists and the threat they pose to all Americans without compromising our values.”
“What Mr. Trump has done is really trying to play with the fears of the community after the attack in San Bernardino,” said Mohammed Kaiseruddin, Chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. “The Muslim community denounces all terrorist actions, especially against civilians.
CIOGC called on all Americans to visit their local mosques as a way of getting to know American Muslims and to diversify their sources in learning about Islam.
CIOGC highlighted the unfortunate impact of the current Islamophobic rhetoric on American Muslims, especially those young Muslims born and raised in the U.S. “On one hand, they’re reminded that they’re Americans and then on the other hand they’re told to get out,” noted Ms. Haleem.
“I say to Mr. Trump, you are a responsible man trying to seek a responsible position. You should behave and make statements in a responsible manner,” said LaDale George, a Chicago attorney and member of the Council of Islamic Organizations.
Illinois’ Republican Governor Bruce Rauner also denounced Trump’s remarks, stating: “I strongly disagree with candidate Trump’s comments. Strongly disagree.”
CIOGC has also received tremendous support from Interfaith partners and other community members who affirmed that Mr. Trump’s statements were inappropriate and do not represent them. When asked by their friends what they can do to help American Muslims, the response was to share their thoughts about Islam and Muslims with their neighbors and friends, because it’s that personal testimony that will resonate with the hearts and minds of individuals across America.
Watch the coverage at the links below: