On January 1, 2016 – the first day of the new year – the Interfaith Committee of the Islamic Foundation (IF) of Villa Park held a community gathering aptly titled, “A Rally for Unity and Solidarity”.
“Our Interfaith Committee felt that it was imperative to begin the new year, not separately, not in our own social, religious, racial enclaves, but rather to begin this auspicious new year, 2016, together with family, friends, colleagues and members of our own religious communities and members from other religious communities,” Chairman Azam Nizamuddin said.
The event garnered a huge turnout from both the Muslim community and people from outside the Muslim community. Church leaders from Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, UCC, United Methodist, and Unitarian communities attended and spoke to the gathering. Additionally, public officials including the Mayor of Villa Park, and County Board membesrs attended and spoke in support of the Muslim community. It was a call to action and several church leaders and public officials, not only pledged their public support of the Muslim community, but asked their congregation to come out and get to know the Muslim community.
The event kicked off with a brilliant and inspiring talk by Elmhurst College Freshman Imaan Ahmed, who began her talk with the pledge of allegiance. The event anticipated about 150 people in attendance, but over 300 showed up. The event was also covered by the media, namely the Daily Herald (read the story here), and was featured on both the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. of local television news.