Chicago Roundup - Governor Pat Quinn Recognizes Contributions of Muslim Community
By Dr. Mujahid Ghazi CIOGC 17th Annual Dinner
Chicago:

Speaking to a packed audience at the 17th Annual Community Dinner of Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago at Monty's Banquet in Elmhurst, Illinois, on November 7 Governor Pat Quinn said that he wants to build a stronger relationship to work more closely with the community. He said this is the reason he is appointing his liaison to ensure regular rapport with a community consisting of 400,000 individuals living in the state. He was pointing to the appointment of Ms. Samreen Khan, a Senior Policy Advisor at his office as Liaison to the Muslim Community. He also mentioned his eight appointments of Muslim leadership to the State's various boards and commissions.
He uged more people in the Muslim community to apply for the openings. He further said that he firmly believes in reform and transparency in the government and has been dedicated to making these well-meaning policies his priority.
He said that he has always stood up for his beliefs and served as a true, honest, public servant in his capacity as State Treasurer, Lt. Governor and now Governor. He said that he recognizes the contribution that the Muslim community continually makes in Illinois, economicallyand civically.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, Chairman of the CIOGC, speaking on "Why Should You Support The Council" said that the council stands for unity, for consensus building, for collective leadership of a diverse community and for a unified voice of the 400,000 Muslims in the Greater Chicago Area. He claimed that it is one of the few gras roots civic Islamic organizations in the United States that seriously and consistently coordinates, connects, empowers and leads the diverse Muslim community for a common purpose.

Earlier Ms.Tasneem Osmani, Vice Chair of CIOGC and Chairperson of the Annual Dinner Committee, welcomed the guests and said that in the last 17 years the Council has come a long way: from a few organizations the membership has grown to more than 50, representing a wide array of ethnicities, races and cultures, including African Americans, Nigerians, South Asians, Arabs, Bosnians, Albanians, Turks, Latinos, Caucasians and many more.
She said that the Council brings these extraordinary communities together in cooperation and collaboration with one another and with the interfaith community and with community organizations, the academia and the public sector for common good.


In his keynote speech Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of MPAC, mentioning the successes and achievements of various factions of Muslim community and Muslim leadership, said that it is a very special time for Muslims in America. He said that there was a time when there were only four Muslim staffers in Washington and all four were in hiding, they did not want to be known.
He said that now there are 70 Muslim Congressional staffers and over 100 Muslims in Federal agencies. He said we have two Muslim members of the Congress. He said that our opponents see us as a threat and we should not be

fooled by them. He said that we are not a threat to the values of this country but a source of strength to America. He said we are a threat to status quo, we are a threat to injustice, we are a threat to indecency, we are a threat to those who continue to lie about us and about our great faith. He said that we will confront them and we will address the issues important to us. He said that we are asking basically for the right to serve, right to be a part of this great society.

He mentioned that Muslim Americans in the armed forces are serving our country and our faith.
He said that we don't see those as competing factors but we see those as factors that actually enrich each and every part of us -serving our community, our country and our faith. Mentioning the recent incident at Fort Hood he said that Muslim organizations swiftly mobilized and articulated the stand of the Muslim American community and prayed and expressed sympathies for the victims and their loved ones.
He acknowledged that the government and law enforcement agencies quickly came to our support in the event of any backlash. He said that the shooter of Orlando incident and Virginia Tech were projected as psychologically deranged and nobody played an ethnic, religious or race card in those situations. He demanded the same standard of reporting in all such situations. He said there may be Muslim extremists who would also use the religious card. He advised that we have to be very effective in engaging our young Muslims as they develop their Islamic identity. He said using our experience should teach the best way to practice Islam in America.
He said that we should avoid segregation of American culture and our own culture. He said we cannot avoid American culture. Mentioning the good values of the American culture he said that we should not hesitate to embrace them in our lives. He stressed on the importance of engaging in political and social movements.

Fundraising was effectively conducted by Shaykh Kifah Mustapha.

The entertainment part was very impressive. Performance from Unveiled consisted of two monologues by Rohina Malik. Humor mixed with satire in the backdrop of post-9/11 America got a standing ovation from the audience. The program started with the recitation of Holy Qur'an by Ammar Haq with translation and commentary by Professor Inamul Haq.

Dr. Mikhail Ramadan offered prayers at the end of the program.

Rami Nashashibi of IMAN was the emcee of the event with Humaira Basit as co-emcee.

Delicious dinner was provided by Ashraf Patel's Anmol Catering.

The service and management of Monty's Banquet was highly appreciated by the organizers and the attendees. Dr. Quadri and Aftab Baig of Monty's Banquet deserve commendation.

Kiran Ansari, Executive Director of CIOGC and Ahmed Khan, Associate Organizer, Amal Ali, Youth Development and Outreach Coordinator, Ahmed Ansari, Art Director and Webmaster and Rita Sutton, Office Manager must also be acknowledged for the demonstrating excellent team work making this event to a great success.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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