CIOGC is committed to active dialogue and joint action between Muslims and people of other faith traditions. Through its outreach efforts on behalf of its members, the Council has formed invaluable relationships with several faith groups including:
CIOGC has also formed relationships and partnerships with faith-based civic groups such as the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCC) and the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR). It is a founding member of United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ) with almost 40 other faith groups, health centers and civic organizations to discuss common issues and work towards an actionable consensus. Consequently, a significant amount of interfaith dialogue with the Muslim community takes place through, or under the Council’s umbrella.
During the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), one of the largest Islamic gatherings in the world, the Council assumes full responsibility for organizing and hosting all interfaith activities during the event. The Council and our interfaith partners are committed to working together to promote good and speak out against injustices.
In the past, interfaith leaders of all faiths from all around the Chicagoland have worked together, showing it is not just tolerance of one another, but a common goal towards social justice that really brings these different groups together.
Through Cardinal Bernardin, Cardinal George, and now Cardinal Blase Cupich, the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Council have shared a very beneficial relationship. M. Cherif Bassiouni, Emeritus Professor Law at DePaul University, writes, “These two Cardinals have been at the forefront of helping to invite Muslims in Chicago to their place at the table with other religious leaders and representatives. The Catholic-Muslim dialogue has also been enriched in the field of graduate theological education by the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park.”
Every year, the Council and the Archdiocese come together for an interfaith Iftar during the holy month of Ramadan. The Cardinal and members of many various faith groups attend this gathering, where they are able to gain a better understanding on Ramadan, fasting and other Islamic traditions. This is just one of many events and meetings the Council and the Archdiocese have to facilitate dialogue and cooperation.
The Council is glad to have had the opportunity to work with these Cardinals and the greater Catholic community, and hopes for continued successful and mutually beneficial dialogue for years to come.
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs & Chicago Board of Rabbis
The Council has engaged in active dialogue with members of the Jewish community for many years now. This relationship has been primarily with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) who has come together with the Council to participate in civic engagement as well as to fight religious discrimination. The Council has also maintained relationships with the Chicago Board of Rabbis, and for many years facilitated Imam-Rabbi dialogue, where leaders from both faith groups gain a better understanding of Judaism and/or Islam. Attendees from various backgrounds and ethnicities were always engaged in the lively discussions.
More joint programs include:
- Youth from the JCUA joined Muslim students as they headed down to Springfield for Illinois Muslim ACTION! Day (IMAD). Prior to the event, the teens visited a a Church, a Mosque and a Synagogue and showed that it was just not solidarity in numbers, but solidarity in interfaith that day.
- JCUA took part in a press conference hosted by the Council, to affirm the Fifth Amendment rights of the DuPage County Muslims and call on the Dupage County Development Board to reconsider the zoning board decision after rejecting a proposal for a Mosque.
- The Council joined JCUA’S Chicagoland Inter-Religious Rapid Response Network (CIRRN) to take a stand against faith based hate crimes.
- Years of Imam/Rabbi dialogue
CIOGC has been involved with the CRLMC for nearly a decade by attending meetings, press conferences and standing with the other religious leaders for the common good. This includes working together to have a water fee exemption for religious organizations as well as speaking up when one group is discriminated against.
Events with CRLMC have included: Quarterly meetings, religious leaders retreat, religious leaders call for immigration reform press conferences, religious leaders uniting to support Syrian refugees, Interfaith Thanksgiving Observance, prayers for peace, interfaith calendars, and events to address religious discrimination.
Presbytery of Chicago
The Council has had active dialogue with the Presbytery of Chicago for nearly a decade which has helped both groups gain a better understanding of the different faiths. In the summer of 2013, the Council and the Presbytery passed an updated covenant (below) to further strengthen relationships in the interfaith community. In the Fall of 2009, the Council and the Presbytery of Chicago signed a declaration to begin a ‘Year of Muslim-Christian Dialogue’ during an event where individuals from both faith groups presented on their history and traditions.
CIOGC and the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church, believe it is imperative that people of faith commit to a spirit of peace and cooperation. Therefore, we have, with God’s help, shared an ongoing dialogue, building mutual understanding and trust. We recognize the differences and similarities between the Qur’an and the Bible, both of which bid us to respect the dignity of all people, to trust and submit to God’s will in everything, and to work for a society of justice and peace where hate and fear are overcome by love. The Council looks forward to the Annual Banquets with the United Methodist Church, where for nearly a decade, we have come together to participate in meaningful interfaith dialogue.