Neighbors and interfaith leaders joined the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), Downtown Islamic Center (DIC), and Mosque Foundation in a nationwide #WeAreAllAmerica action during noontime Jummah (congregational) prayer on February 3 to express opposition against President Trump’s ban on Muslims and refugees.
The action at DIC began with a khutba (sermon) by Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago, followed by congregational prayer. Underscoring the importance of uniting with our neighbors, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, Civic Engagement Council Chair, then invited interfaith leaders including Rev. Rev. Avena Ward of St. Pauls United Church of Christ, Rabbi Lauren Henderson of Mishkan Chicago, Father Tony Pizzo of St. Rita Catholic Church, and Clete Kiley, Priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago to share their expressions of solidarity with the Muslim community.
“We are here to pray with you and pray for you,” said Father Tony Pizzo, St. Rita Catholic Church. Sharing the same sentiment, Kiley of the Catholic Archdiocese spoke of refugees in from a Biblical perspective, “If we do not welcome strangers, woe to us.” Community leaders and congregants then came together outside of the mosque for a public demonstration to display their support for Muslims and refugees by singing “We Shall Overcome,” and chanting “This is what America looks like!”
The #WeAreAllAmerica crowd sings “We Shall Overcome!” pic.twitter.com/DfdM4INBsy
— CIOGC (@CIOGC) February 3, 2017
Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview joined faith leaders and neighbors in forming a human chain around the mosque to reiterate the message of solidarity against Trump’s ban. Among the supporters were Oscar Chacon of Alianza Americas and Latino community activists as well as Rabbi Michael Davis of the Jewish Voice for Peace and members of the local Jewish community.
“In you, we see us. And we want you to see yourselves in us,” Chacon said. “We’ve known what it’s like to live in fear and to pray in fear so we feel in our hearts what the Muslim community is going through right now. And we’re here to stand with them,” Rabbi Davis added.
“People are afraid of being in large gatherings of Muslims that might be targeted. So to see the human chain on an occasion like this is to feel that sense of security,” said Deanna Othman of Mosque Foundation and CIOGC.
CIOGC and its member organizations extend deep gratitude and appreciation for the overwshelming support received by faith communities and our neighbors on the day of action and in recent weeks.
The national #WeAreAllAmerica action is sponsored by CIOGC and organized by the We Are All America Coalition which includes Alianza Americas, America’s Voice, Church World Service, Human Rights First, International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, National Partnership for New Americans, and Welcoming America.
We Are America is a coalition of immigrant, refugee, and faith organizations that are working together to support our core American values as a nation of refuge for those fleeing persecution and violence, and as a pluralistic nation of immigrants and religious tolerance.