On Saturday, January 30, CIOGC held its bi-monthly House of Representatives meeting, which was attended by leaders from various mosques and organizations. The meeting was held at the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) office in Palos Hills. AMP leaders were very generous in hosting close to 40 House Representatives and providing a wonderful breakfast and lunch spread. The meeting commenced with a Qur’anic recitation by Mr. Rafiq Jabber. Next was a review and approval of the agenda followed by announcements of the latest events and happenings by member organizations. Being the first meeting of the year, the 2016 calendar listing of CIOGC meetings and main events was presented to the members.
The CIOGC budget for 2016 was one of the key items discussed. The budget accounted for funds allocated to the work that CIOGC accomplishes in different departments: communications, youth, interfaith and civic engagement. The proposed budget was approved. This was followed by a discussion on some of the suggested amendments and status update by the Committees and Bylaws Committee. Additionally, in the wake of the current water situation in Flint, Michigan, Mr. Abrar Quader, Director of Government and Community Partnerships at the Compassionate Care Network (CCN), gave a short presentation on CCN’s Flint water campaign, which successfully delivered 11,000 water bottles to Flint last week. Further, Imam Malik Mujahid of SoundVision also presented on the importance of having the Muslim voice present and at the front of the Flint Coalition effort, which is currently conducting conference calls and looking at long term solutions.
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) at its House of Representatives meeting passed the following resolution in solidarity with the Flint Coalition.
Whereas, Flint residents had no choice but to drink lead-laden water for two years, which, according to EPA standards, is considered toxic waste;
Whereas, no medicine can treat the irreversible brain damage to children that is caused by lead-laden water;
Whereas, the water bottle solution will require 20 million bottles of water per day for the next year or two until this problem is solved, making it an environmental hazard;
CIOGC asks for the following:
- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder must have the state take the responsibility of changing water pipes for all homes and the water infrastructure in Flint;
- The Federal Government must declare Flint a major disaster zone, make FEMA in charge, make the EPA responsible for the testing of the water, and make the Army Corps of Engineers responsible for the expedited replacement of the underground pipes, similar to the levees project in New Orleans;
- The Michigan state and FEMA should evacuate all Flint residents who want to leave into nearby townships with non-toxic water;
- For those who choose to stay in Flint, FEMA must create a temporary water system by delivering two 55-gallon drums of fresh clean water from Lake Huron every day to every home in Flint;
- The maximum possible water infrastructure funds should be kept in the City of Flint and the Greater Flint area so that labor and contracts keep the money in Flint.
CIOGC calls upon the Illinois Congressional delegation to pursue these demands through President Obama and the Governor of Michigan.
The meeting concluded by discussing the outstanding items on the agenda, followed by a closing dua’. CIOGC appreciates the attendance by representatives from member organizations and encourages all members to attend future meetings. The next HR meeting will be in March 2016.