Chicago Roundup
Inter-Scholastic Qir’at Competition at Muslim Educational Center . Mushaira at SMCAANA and DOGANA Retreat a Great Success . “Beyond the Comfort Zone, Crossing the Divide”: CAIR’s Annual Banquet 2011. “One Team, One Mission: Securing the Homeland” . Book Signing of Hashmat Sohail’s Collection “Kiran Kiran Tabassum” . Open House of WBEZ’s North Side Bureau . Anmol Restaurant Celebrates First Anniversary .
By Dr. Mujahid Ghazi

Inter-Scholastic Qir’at Competition at Muslim Educational Center

A packed hall at the Muslim Educational Center in Morton Grove watched patiently students from various Islamic schools in Greater Chicago come one by one and recite the Holy Qur’an. There were parents, teachers and community members to witness something edifying which would have been beyond one’s imagination two decades ago.

The competition which took most of the day was very well organized. Dr. Inamul Haq from the theology department of Elmhurst College spoke on the importance and history of the recitation of the Qur’an. Dr. Javed Bhatti recited Hamd and Na’at. The faculty, administration and the PTA of MEC were praised by the audience for organizing the great event. Mrs.Aziz B. Ali, Nazirah Department Chairperson, MEC Sunday School, rightfully deserves to be commended for spearheading this remarkable event.

The results of the competition are as follows:

1st grade:

1st place: Danial Bekinalkar MSI Sunday School

2nd place: Simra Kalota CPSA Sunday School

3rd place: Umme Salma ICC Full-time School

2nd grade:

1st place: Aziz-ur-Rahman ICC Full-time School

2nd place: Alisa Syed ICC Sunday School

3rd place (tie): Yaqub Hussain MSI Sunday School

3rd place (tie): Mohammed Sohaib CPSA Sunday School

3rd grade:

1st place: Zakariya Sattar ICC Full-time School

2nd place: Hadil Bilal MCC Darul Uloom

3rd place: Sumayyah Hussain MSI Sunday School

4th grade:

1st place: Fahad Sodagar MCC Sunday School

2nd place (tie): Rayyan Ismail MSI Sunday School

2nd place (tie): Jibran Zaidi MEC Sunday School

3rd place: Mikhael Shah ICC Sunday School

5th grade:

1st place: Mariam Tolba Al-Iman Saturday School of IFN

2nd place: Amina Yusuf ICC Full-time School

3rd place: Needa Shaikh ICCD Saturday School

6th grade:

1st place: Leya Ismail MSI Sunday School

2nd place: Kanwal Ahmed Al-Iman Sunday School of ICCD

3rd place: Rameen Mohammad Ghani Al-Iman Saturday School of IFN

7th grade:

1st place: Areebah Siddiqui IFN Sunday School

2nd place: Talha Qadri Al-Huda Sunday School

3rd place: Hazem Al-Khan Al-Iman Sunday School of ICCD

8th grade:

1st place: Afreen Ahmed Al-Iman Sunday School of ICCD

2nd place: Mostafa Naveed Al-Iman Saturday School of IFN

3rd place: Zakira Sadaf Farooqui IFN Sunday School

9th grade:

1st place: Safaa Beg Al-Iman Sunday School of ICCD

2nd place: Sehr Sheikh Al-Iman Saturday School of IFN

3rd place: Mohammed Saad CPSA Sunday School

10th grade:

1st place: Nadia Quraishi ISNS Sunday School

2nd place: Ahmad Tbakhi Al-Iman Sunday School of ICCD

3rd place: Mudassir Ali CPSA Sunday School


Mushaira at SMCAANA and DOGANA Retreat a Great Success


In the late hours of Friday, to be exact, and in the early morning of Saturday, the Mushaira got the houseful attendance of Urdu lovers. Organized by this scribe and conducted by the famous local host (Nazim), Amin Haider kept the audience glued to their seats in the Forum Auditorium until 3 AM in the morning. The prominent local poets who presented their literary work included Mehboob Khan, Sajid Choudhry, Nazar Naqvi, Shahid Alig, Dr. Mujahid Ghazi, Hamid Amrohvi, Dr. Iftikhar Naseem, Lateef Saif, Mohtarma Razia Faseeh Ahmed, Sadiq Naqvi and Dr. Abidullah Ghazi, who presided over the event.

Physician poets who participated included Dr. Ehtesham Shami, Dr. Darukhshan Tanvir and Dr. Safdar Hafeez. Hashmat Sohail, the humorous local poet, was a great hit. He changed the mood of the audience and made them laugh their hearts out. Though the Mushaira started hours later than its scheduled time due to a scheduling conflict, but the poets and the audience didn’t show any anger and made it a historical event to be remembered and cherished for a long, long time.

Though Sabri Nihari Restaurant did remarkable job of taking care of the hungry mortals with their delicious food in the banquets, the attendees of the retreat graded the Mushaira as the best event during the Retreat which satisfied their hunger for Urdu literature and poetry.


“Beyond the Comfort Zone, Crossing the Divide”: CAIR’s Annual Banquet 2011

Rosemont, April 16 th 2011: “Pull down walls and build bridges,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson in his keynote speech last week. More than 1000 people showed their support to CAIR Chicago by attending its 2011 Annual Banquet at Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont Illinois.

After the Qur’anic recitation by Abdulghany Tabbara and its translation by Eman Sahloul, Christina Abraham, Civil Rights Director of CAIR Chicago welcomed the guests. She said CAIR helps this country through its own principles by demanding religious liberty for all and a society free from discrimination. Amina Sharif, Communication Coordinator for CAIR Chicago, presented the Achievement Award for Courage in Journalism to Jerome McDonnel, Radio Host, WBEZ. Lyndsey Stemm, communications coordinator for CAIR Chicago presented The Lifetime Courage in Scholarship Award to Dr. Robert Pape, author and Professor, University of Chicago. He wrote the masterpiece research book “Cutting The Fuse”. The book consists of research focusing suicide bombings and genesis of the suicide bomber. Gerald Hankerson, outreach coordinator for CAIR Chicago presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service to Habeeb Quadri, Principal at MCC full time school. Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of CAIR Chicago said CAIR Chicago is an institution built by the hard work and talents of individuals who gave up their personal lives and worked day and night for six years in order to focus on civil rights and civil liberty advocacy. In six years CAIR Chicago resolved 1800 civil rights cases in addition to hundreds of TV, Radio and Newspaper interviews and op ads contributed by these individuals. 250 interns have graduated from CAIR Chicago who are playing leadership role in various communities. Shaykh Kifah Mustafa of Mosque Foundation did the fundraising and was able to raise more than $ 250,000.

The two time presidential candidate for the presidency of US, Civil Rights Activist, Baptist Minister, founder and President of Rainbow PUSH Coalition Rev. Dr. Jesse L. Jackson gave a motivating keynote speech. He condemned Islamophobia and said Islam is a global religion and is not just a religion of any one country or any one race. He said fear, hatred, ignorance, and violence constitute Islamophobia which made people oppose the mosque construction in New York.

Yaser Tabbara, Board member of CAIR Chicago, masterly conducted the proceedings.


Open House of WBEZ’s North Side Bureau


Chicag, April 13 th 2011: A large number of community members and leaders attended the open house at the North Side Bureau of WBEZ radio. Odette Yousef, the Bureau Chief and other representatives of the radio, greeted the guests and answered their questions. The bureau is part of the community broadcasting plan of WBEZ radio. It has two more bureaus in the South and West sides of Chicago. These three bureaus and their reporters have contributed many reports pertaining to the communities during the last year. Odette especially was seen very active during this period in actively engaging herself with various factions of the ethnic communities living in the north side of Chicago.


Anmol Restaurant Celebrates First Anniversary


Chicago , April 17 th 2011: Anmol Restaurant, an excellent addition to the Pakistani cuisines on Devon Avenue, celebrated its first anniversary last Sunday by cutting a cake along with a houseful of their customers. Anmol, famous for its grilled platters, has been serving the communities in Milwaukee and Chicago. Ashraf Patel and Akbar Patel thanked the patrons for supporting the restaurant.

Anmol is located at 2858 W. Devon in the north side of Chicago. Speaking to this scribe Manager Sonny Tariq said, “We are striving to provide fresh and clean cuisine with unique taste to our customers.”


“One Team, One Mission: Securing the Homeland”


Chicago , 11 th April 2011: The Chicago Office of The US Department of Homeland Security organized a Chicago Community Alliance Kickoff program at the University of Illinois last Monday. A large audience of diversified heritage attended the event. Mistress of Ceremonies was Anna Bielicka-Garrido, a mission support specialist in Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). The program started with the singing of the national anthem Adrienne Locke, a paralegal specialist in Customs and Border Petrol (CBP). Gary Hartwig, Special Agent In charge of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation Unit Chicago, welcomed the guests. In his opening remarks he gave a brief introduction of DHS and said on March 1 st, 2003, when DHS became operative, approximately two dozen government agencies were brought together under one umbrella with a common goal and mission, which is to ensure that our homeland is safe, secure and resilient against terrorism.

Robyn Dessaure, Assistant Director Chicago Field Office, US Customs and Border Protection, explained the plan of engagement of DHS Community Alliance Teams (DCAT). She said these teams are composed of representatives of agencies like ICE, CBP, TSA, USCIS and FEMA. She said these teams will be made available to any community group or any faith-based organization throughout the City of Chicago. The DCATs will attend the organizations’ meetings to provide information about the member agencies and answer the questions of the community members.

Before Patricia Maza-Pittsford from Consul General El Salvador’s Office could speak some members of the audience stood up and raised slogans “Deportation destroys family.” They were loud and repetitive and didn’t stopp until guided by the security personnel towards the exit of the hall. Ms Patricia said that she would like to applaud an attempt and an orchestrated effort to humanize the face of DHS. Bogdan Pukszta, Executive Director, Polish American Chamber of Commerce, said that human and institutional diversity make the world and the US beautiful but also imperfect and complex, so timely and useful information from a trusted source is very valuable. Ms. Brenda Myers-Powel, cofounder of Dreamcatchers Foundation got a standing ovation for the work she and her organization is doing. Tariq Siddiqi, President of Muslim NOBLE Alliance, said that there was this misconception that Muslims can’t work with the government and the government doesn’t work for Muslims. He said his presence dispels that misconception. Ruth Dorochoff, District Director USCIS, spoke about the role of USCIS and reiterated that his department will work with the communities to make the partnership a successful one. Keynote Speaker David J. Murphy, Director, Chicago Field Office CBP spoke in detail about the vision and mission of DCAT teams. Andrew Velasquez III, Director Region V, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave the closing remarks.

Although the event was very well organized but lacked the presence of known Muslim community stakeholders in the City of Chicago.


Book Signing of Hashmat Sohail’s collection Kiran Kiran Tabassum


Chicago , April 17 th, 2011: Urdu Cultural Society of North America organized a book- signing and inauguration event to pay tribute to the famous humorous poet Hashmat Sohail on his book “Kiran Kiran Tabassum”. The program started with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an and its translation by Mazhar Alam followed by recitation of a Na’at written by Hashmat Sohail by Nida Ahmed. Mr. Hamid Amrohi presented his Na’ats.

This was followed by the members of Urdu Cultural Society paying tribute to the poet and his book. Ms. Farheen Kabir gave a brief history of the achievements of Urdu Cultural Society. Mazhar Alam said Hashmat Sohail excels other poets in the poetry sessions he attends. He said he is MA English and MA Urdu. He is an attorney by education and a good poet. He said Kiran Kiran Tabassum exudes laughter on every page. Najamul Hasan talked about the contents of the book. Dr. Ahmed Shehzad said Hashmat Sohail's poetry has the power to make people laugh in sleep. Mr. Hashmat Sohail talked about his genesis into a humorous poet and gave credit to his wife Yasmeen for her encouragement. He said his book Kiran Kiran Tabassum was published by Nizami Academy of Ehteshamuddin Arshad Nizami who did a great job in bringing the printed book to his doorstep. Wajid Nadeem and Rasheed Sheikh paid poetic tribute to Hashmat Sohail.

Amin Haider compared Hashmat Sohail with the humorous poets of this era and said Sohail has his own identity. Compared to other poets he is new in the field but not an amateur. He has complete command on his art and its delivery whether it is his own experience, worldly happenings or common jokes. He expresses them in a beautiful way that is hard to find in the works of other poets. He said he is proud that he introduced Hashmat Sohail to the literary circles of Chicago. Professor Masroor Qureshi gave a historical background of humorous poetry and said Hashmat Sohail turns common day events into humor and makes people laugh their heart out. He said he has earned a name as a humorous poet in the USA and will soon be well known in the Urdu world. Professor Arfa Bokhari from Federal Urdu University Pakistan said that Hashmat Sohail is among the people who brought their expertise of Urdu to the Western world. She further said that in addition to his poetry his prose is also remarkable. Well-known poet and historian Professor Sadiq Naqvi said that he didn’t find conscious construction in Hashmat Sohail’s poetry; it is all a creation of thoughts suddenly coming to his mind and changing into words. He didn’t create the poetry; the poetry came to his mind like rain, that’s why his poems have fluency in them. This scribe also spoke on the poetry of Hashmat Sohail and said that his poetry is not only today’s poetry but poetry of tomorrow because in spite of its funny content it serves a lesson to the reader. He puts his hand on the pulse of the society and addresses issues which we usually miss. Known novelist and poet Razia Fasih Ahmed said that she also claims 50% credit of making Hashmat Sohail what he is today. She said she is the one who advised him to turn his jokes into poetry. Muneer Siddiqi Sharar differed from other speakers and admired his serious poetry, especially one about the Urdu language. Erudite scholar and poet Dr. Abidullah Ghazi said that Hashmat Sohail is a witty and extempore poet who has full command on the language. He said his serious poetry is very serious and his humorous poetry is very funny. Ustad poet Niaz Gulbergvi, who presided over the session said Hashmat Sohail has done justice to both his serious and humorous poetry. He said his work could easily put him in the list of prominent poets and he can easily be called the Akbar Allahbadi of the present era. Hashmat Sohail thanked all the participants and the presenters. He said he felt humbled by the tribute paid to him. Later he took questions from the audience and signed his book. The literary session was conducted by Dr. Ahmed Shehzad, Mazhar Alam and Najamul Hasan. Prompt and witty hooting from the audience, especially Itrat Hussain, had a lively influence on the proceedings.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.