On February 28th, DuPage County Muslims will be taking back the narrative about their faith and themselves. In collaboration with DuPage United, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) is leading the year-long ‘Solidarity with Muslims’ Campaign with a launch event expected to attract 500 people of diverse faiths.
Expected to participate in this historic event are members of the following DuPage United member institutions: MECCA Center, Islamic Center of Naperville, Islamic Center of Wheaton, North Central College, Faith Lutheran Church, First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove Quakers, ICNA Relief, Muslim Society Inc., Islamic Foundation, Muslim Association of Bolingbrook, St. Marks Episcopal, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, The Union Church UCC, Church of the Holy Nativity-Episcopal and Congregation Etz Chaim.
As Muslims we have an opportunity to create a counter-narrative, replacing “us” and “them” with “we the people.” Much of Islamophobia is based on misinformation and fear of the unknown. DuPage United’s Solidarity Campaign is intended to achieve this. It presents Muslims, too, with a venue to reach out and speak to their neighbors of other faiths. The one-to-one conversations we are planning for the launch event on February 28 are meant to build small bridges of understanding. Those who know a Muslim are more inclined to take advantage of mosque open houses, attend unity dinners and unlikely to tolerate hate talk. We want to make clear the shared American values that bind us into “we”. Over the course of this campaign, as Muslims, we hope to build a critical mass that will be able to push back against political hate talk.
Among the speakers who will be leading these courageous conversations will be Dr. Larycia Hawkins of Wheaton College, Pastor James Honig of Faith Lutheran Church and Muslim youth.
Members of the audience will be encouraged to engage in one-to-one conversations with those of different faiths.
This is vital especially as the election campaign goes into full swing in the late summer & fall. Developing interfaith voices starts by talking one-to-one to each other. Together, each of us can speak out in solidarity and, in unison, defeat hate and fear. As Muslims, we can take back the narrative.