By Husnaa Vhora
Hundreds gathered at the Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN) on February 26 for an interfaith solidarity vigil, which was co-sponsored by CIOGC and Protected by Faith. The event included leaders from all faiths, music, and a joint call to action.
Among the many speakers were Shoaib Khadri, President of ICN, Aadil Farid of the Islamic Center of Naperville, Father Corey Brost of the Children of Abraham Coalition, Rabbi Marc Rudolph of Congregation Beth Shalom, Sheikh Hassan Ali of MECCA Center, Bishop Wayne Miller, President of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC), Yuri Diaz of the Resurrection Project, Jamillah Rashad and Imelda Salazar of the Southwest Organizing Project, Rabbi David Wolkenfeld of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel, Karen Danielson and Husnaa Vhora of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), and Father Brendan Curran of Dominican University.
After Shoaib Khadri welcomed attendees, opening prayers were given on behalf of each faith community. Aadil Farid offered an opening prayer on behalf of the Muslim community, while Father Corey Brost and Rabbi Marc Rudolph did so on behalf of the Christian and Jewish communities respectively. This was followed by a prayer about the light of God, which was recited in English, Spanish, and Mandarin.
In his opening prayer, Rabbi Marc Rudolph narrated the story of four Muslim women, who knocked on his door, after the increasing amount of threats to Jewish Community Centers and synagogues. The women came bearing flowers, gifts, and a note of support. “I suspect that they came because they realize that these series of threats represented more than a hate crime against the Jewish religion. They realize that an assault on any one group is an assault on us all.”
In the spirit of solidarity, the crowd, led by Father Brendan Curran then stood up and joined together to sing, “We Shall Overcome.” During the verse “We’ll walk hand in hand,” everyone began linking arms and rocking side to side.” A loud, thunderous applause followed and attendees were seen embracing one another.
The final part of the vigil included a call to action from many community members. The first speaker to encourage attendees to take action was Karen Danielson, Board member and Secretary of CIOGC, who expressed the importance of solidarity, “There is an ethical imperative facing us today. Now more than ever, we must learn to stand together.”
Then, Father Brendan Curran, Husnaa Vhora, Imelda Salazar and Rabbi Megan GoldMarche each promised support to immigrants, refugees and faith groups other than their own. Husnaa Vhora said, “When our undocumented brothers and sisters are being torn apart from their families, I as a Muslim woman will stand with you.” Father Curran ended by engaging the crowd in a chant where he would ask, “Will you stand,” to which the crowd enthusiastically replied each time, “We will stand!”