CIOGC joined dozens of religious leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities on February 20 at the Downtown Islamic Center for a press conference led by the group Protected by Faith, to form a united front against President Donald Trump’s recent executive order to ban Muslims from seven countries and increase immigration raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants.
Among the many speakers were Aymen Abdel Halim of CIOGC, Dr. Zaher Sahloul of the Syrian American Medical Society, Suzanne Akhras from the Syrian Community Network, Fr. Chuck Dahm of Saint Pius/The Resurrection Project, Bishop Craig Purchase of the United Church of America, Sr., Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago John Manz, Rabbi Megan GoldMarche of Metro Chicago Hillel, Mike Rolfes of Renew Chicago, Reverend Mike Biddy from St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Father Corey Brost C.V.S. of Justice for Immigrants, Father Brendan Curran of Dominican University and Justice for Immigrants.
Faith leaders announced an action in Naperville on February 26 in response to President Trump’s remarks to carry out a new executive order that will reinstate the Muslim ban. Leaders also focused on the fear of deportations in immigrant and Muslim communities by denouncing raids and deportations that are tearing families apart.
Aymen Abdel Halim, CIOGC Communications Director, started the press conference on a spiritual note. He shared a verse from the Surah Al-Baqarah of the Holy Quran which says, “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; And perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you; And Allah knows, while you know not;” He explained that despite the outrage and trauma stemming from Trump’s executive orders, the silver lining for the Muslim community has been the outpouring of support and solidarity from the faith community. Abdel Halim thanked Trump for bringing communities together, strengthening friendships and reaffirming American values.
The speakers shared stories of Syrian refugee families and testimonials by an undocumented immigrant with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Father Brendan Curran of Dominican University likened the context of Trump’s new executive order to a nightmare by saying, “We recognize that millions of immigrant families are in very real danger. Mass deportations and Muslim registration and internment may have seemed impossible nightmares before. Now we find ourselves at the very edge of these nightmares becoming reality.” He spoke further and promised his support for Muslim and immigrant communities. “We will stand, lock arms, struggle and, if need be, suffer to protect the rights of all those in our community and nation.”
Faith leaders urged their respective communities to attend a solidarity vigil at the Islamic Center of Naperville this Sunday, February 26 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. The event will include religious and civic leaders of all faiths and testimonials by immigrants and refugees.