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:
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. However, with the restrictions with in-person engagements due to Covid-19, we have restricted this annual gathering to a virtual event. We hope to resume the in-person format of this signature CIOGC event from next year inshallah.
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
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.
Covenant of Faith:
As communities of faith, we the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Presbytery of Chicago, believe that our religions are the rich wellsprings from which we draw forth our commitments to love, serve, and be for one another. Our religions teach us that out of love and mercy God created the world and that God calls us to love his creation. Our love takes the form of mutual responsibility and loyalty. Just as we are called to be loyal to God, we are called to be loyal to all whom God loves.
God’s call for loyalty requires us to strive together for the common good: the care of the earth for generations to come, the preservation of justice for all, the protection of our rights to pursue, practice, and express our faiths as best we can.
Beyond this, God’s call for loyalty requires us to take upon ourselves the causes of others. Only when our neighbors’ well-being becomes our own concern do we fulfill our call to be faithful to both God and humanity. So we promise to stand together for those who are vulnerable and to speak up with those whose voices are not heard. We promise to teach our children compassion for those whose struggles are different from our own. We promise to become a force for good for each other and for others.
In order to achieve this vision we recognize that our two communities have much work to do. With sincere effort and God willing, we commit ourselves
- To deepen our understanding of each other’s religions
- To model respect for each other’s religions
- To work together on an ongoing basis in issues of human equality and social justice
Together we trust that God will bless our efforts, for by God’s permission we are taking part in cultivating a better world. We pray that God will complete what we leave incomplete.
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.