WBEZ | Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/council-islamic-organizations-greater-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en New ads aim to eradicate Islamophobia http://www.wbez.org/story/new-ads-aim-eradicate-islamophobia-95068 <p><p>Some new TV ads in Chicago are trying to portray Islam in a good light.</p><p>The ads will be broadcasted on some cable channels for the next three months. Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, the Director of Gain Peace Project-Chicago, said the commercials are meant to eradicate Islamophobia.</p><p>"It's very important for us to realize that by watching these ads, we hope that the viewers could realize that Islam is not a faith to be feared but a faith that cherishes human values, a faith that encourages its followers to reach out to the neighbors and to the community," Ahmed said.</p><p>He said the groups hope to expand the ads nationwide with more support and funding.</p></p> Tue, 20 Dec 2011 20:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-ads-aim-eradicate-islamophobia-95068 Chicago Muslim group combats 'Islamaphobia' in a post-9/11 world http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-muslim-group-combats-islamaphobia-post-911-world-91786 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/cair.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago-based Muslim advocacy group says "Islamaphobia" has gotten worse in the U.S. since the terrorist attacks of September 11th.</p><p>"This may be the last year that I hold a press conference on 9/11 or participate in one," said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago. "And the reason is, the only thing I'll be willing to do moving forward is remember the victims of 9/11."</p><p>Rehab and members of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC) in attendance stressed that anti-Islam rhetoric is as much of an issue in Chicago as it is across the U.S.</p><p>"I think the challenges of Islamaphobia, in terms of the national discourse on Islam, and relationship between Muslim-Americans and larger American society, or the Muslim-American world outside the United States is the same across the united states. And it isn't necessary local."</p><p>Gerald Hankerson, the Outreach Coordinator for CAIR, said that the the group has recently partnered with Wesleyan University to study the psychological effects discrimination has caused Muslim-Americans since 9/11.</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 17:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-muslim-group-combats-islamaphobia-post-911-world-91786 Muslim group objects to DuPage zoning rules http://www.wbez.org/story/muslim-group-objects-dupage-zoning-rules-90626 <p><div style="background-color: transparent;"><p>A group of Muslim organizations in the Chicago area is calling on DuPage County's Board to review its zoning policies, saying they may violate a federal law that protects religious institutions. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago is particularly concerned about the case of the Pin Oak Mosque, which was denied permission to build a dome in excess of the county’s 36-foot height restriction last week. The mosque’s leaders want to build the house of worship in unincorporated residential DuPage County, near west suburban Lombard.</p><p>Dr. Mohammed Zaher Sahloul, head of the CIOGC, said he’s troubled by this because this is the second mosque that has recently run into trouble with the county’s height variations. Another, the Muslim Educational and Cultural Center of America, was denied permission to build a minaret, though the rest of the project was approved. Speaking of the Pin Oak project, Sahloul said he hopes the recent dome denial won’t kill the rest of the project. “I hope it's only (a) technical issue that can be dealt with,” said Sahloul. “Hopefully the permit can happen, and it's not a pattern of rejection of houses of worship in DuPage County.”</p><p>Sahloul said domes and minarets are just as symbolically important to Muslim houses of worship as spires and bell towers are to churches. But some county board members say the burden lies with zoning applicants to prove that without an exemption to county rules, they would experience hardship. The application for the height exemption was separate from the county’s consideration of the rest of the mosque development. The county’s Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to vote on the rest of the proposal at its August 23rd meeting.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></div></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/muslim-group-objects-dupage-zoning-rules-90626 When it’s not Islamophobia; Muslims self-examine http://www.wbez.org/story/when-it%E2%80%99s-not-islamophobia-muslims-self-examine-86425 <p><p>Suburban Chicago’s Muslim population’s growing and, in many ways, integrating into existing communities. &nbsp;</p><div style="background-color: transparent;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Their children play on the same soccer teams as non-Muslims... parents are friendly and may even be Facebook friends.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But Chicago area Muslims are having a hard time integrating their houses of worship and their schools into the suburban landscape.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Some blame Islamophobia.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But one Chicago-area Muslim is asking his community... maybe it’s not them... maybe it’s </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">us.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">HUSSAIN: Al Hamidullah... (prayer in Arabic) (fade under)</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Attorney Faiyaz Hussain gathered dozens of men and women in the basement of the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park, about 30 minutes west of Chicago.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&lt;sound up on prayer&gt;</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hussain is with the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, or CIOGC.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">He’s convened what he’s calling a “Not in my Back Yard” zoning summit to talk about a trend:</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A Muslim group wants to build or expand a mosque or a school. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The local government denies the petition on a zoning technicality.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Some Muslims feel like their community is under attack.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But Hussain wants them to consider something new: maybe they’re partly to blame.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">HUSSAIN: If there’s Islamophobia, we will certainly fight it. Similarly, I think that we then also need to take a step back and not... we shouldn’t go down the path of Islamophobia too quickly, because there may be some very well-intentioned, well-meaning &nbsp;public officials who are simply trying to do their job.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hussain remembers what got him to first consider the hard questions... </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">He was on his morning commute to Chicago, chatting with older ladies on the train. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">HUSSAIN: One of them, a lady that’s known me for two or three years, was sort of one day talking about this project that was going on. She’s like, ‘Oh Faiyaz’ -- and I’ve known her, I’ve talked about her kids, her grandkids, I know the whole story. And she tells me, ‘Faiyaz, you don’t know these people who are moving in, they’re trying to put in this temple, and I don’t know what’s going on, I’m afraid they may have bombs,’ </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It turned out she was talking about MECCA, the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America... a project proposed in DuPage County.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">HUSSAIN: I looked at myself thinking I’ve been riding the train with her for three or four years, I probably haven’t done a good job explaining who we are as Muslims, and here she was thinking MECCA... And I was just shaking my head thinking, ‘wow.’</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MECCA recently won approval to build a school, worship space, and recreational center.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It was a long fight... but one that Hussain hopes others will learn from.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MECCA members put lots of time into meeting one-on-one with county officials.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tony Michaelassi is a county board member... he says putting that personal face on a petition helps push it through the process:</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MICHAELASSI: when it comes to DuPage County, we like to hear from the community itself, we like to hear testimony from the members of the organization that’s petitioning us.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Michaelassi says small groups often make the mistake of taking a purely legalistic approach. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They rely on expensive lawyers to present their case... when it’s just as important for the petitioners themselves to show up, network, and make themselves known. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">One group that’s learned this lesson is the Muslim Community Center School in north suburban Morton Grove.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">School Chairman Rizwan Kadir says when the group sought zoning approval in the late 80s, it hit a wall of opposition from neighbors.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">KADIR: If they knew us at a personal level, things would have been a lot different.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Kadir says school administrators and parents have worked hard since then to let the neighbors know them.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They have open houses. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They let neighborhood kids play in school fields. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">And the school’s a polling place during elections. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Kadir hopes all that will help him fix what he considers a major compromise that the school had to make.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">KADIR: We could not have a high school right now. So we are strategizing our plan in how to approach the village in getting rid of some of these restrictions.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Kadir feels confident that by now, the school’s relationship with its neighbors is good enough to make this an easy win.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But he won’t know for sure until he submits his requests...sometime this summer.</span></div></p> Thu, 12 May 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/when-it%E2%80%99s-not-islamophobia-muslims-self-examine-86425 Muslim Americans react to the death of Osama bin Laden http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-02/muslim-americans-react-death-osama-bin-laden-85922 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-02/NYC Getty Mario Tama.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The news of Bin Laden’s death drew large, celebratory crowds in some major American cities. It was a patriotic moment that gathered thousands across the country of all colors, stripes and religious backgrounds. Among them were many Muslim Americans, who for more than a decade have faced hard times.<br> <br> For local reaction to the news of bin Laden, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to <a href="http://www.ciogc.org/Go.aspx?link=7654381" target="_blank">Ahlam Jbara</a>, associate director of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.</p></p> Mon, 02 May 2011 14:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-02/muslim-americans-react-death-osama-bin-laden-85922