What if a flood occurs? What if there is an active shooter? Is your mosque prepared? Emergency preparedness is usually not at the forefront of anyone’s mind until disaster strikes. This is why CIOGC sought to share some insights at the March 19, 2016 House of Representatives (HR) meeting. Communal spaces are challenged with the need to constantly ensure safety for their staff, congregants, and guests while remaining open to all in need within their communities. With that understanding, the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) has formed the Interfaith Security Advisory Council (ISAC) to work with local faith-based organizations and their leaders to enhance preparedness and mitigate potential threats. The goal of ISAC is to ensure the safety and security of the faith-based community, their facilities, and the communities that they serve. To further these efforts, DHSEM created a guide called “Security Best Practices for Communal Spaces”. The guide assists religious organizations to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the threats they may encounter.
Dr. Mohammad Kaiseruddin, CIOGC Chair, presented what he learned at the training to an audience of about 40 HR members. One of the specific examples he gave was the importance of having emergency kits available at homes and at mosques that include basic survival items, and which one can “grab and go” should an emergency occur. The Islamic Center of Naperville, hosted the meeting and provided a lavish breakfast and lunch spread.
The bimonthly HR meeting also had a presentation from Ms. Alia Bilal, Director of Community Relations at Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), who gave a presentation on The Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial Project that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic August 5th march at Marquette Park. The project will also leverage that historical moment to energize and inspire communities across the city and country to remember Dr. King’s message and continue to work for genuine social justice. For more information on the MLK Living Memorial, visit www.mlkmemorialchicago.org.
CIOGC appreciates the attendance by representatives from member organizations and encourages all members to attend future meetings. The next HR meeting will be on May 21,2016.