Illinois Muslim Action Day Press Conference . IMAD Rally Attracts1200 Muslims, Mostly Youth . Leadership Breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion . Nation Coming out of the Shadows, Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic . Jalsa-e-Eid Milad-un-Nabi Attracts Large Number of Chicago Muslims . Barkaat Foods BPL 12/12 Indoor Night Cricket
By Dr. Mujahid Ghazi
Glimpses of the Jalsae Eid Milad un Nabi
Illinois Muslim Action Day Press Conference
Janaan Hashim was the spokesperson at the press conference held at the Third Annual Illinois Muslim Action Day (IMAD 2011) sponsored by CIOGC. She said, “1200 Muslims from all walks of life and across Illinois through 22 buses are sending a message of cooperation and collaboration to our elected officials. Issues which we raise today are not for better Muslims but for better Illinois. Equal access to education, insuring government support for immigrant and refugee services, redistricting for better representation, preventing pollutants to enter and harm our water systems, providing the five strategic languages in schools, Illinois Dream Act to help undocumented immigrant youth, adopting environmentally healthy living habits.” She said, “Illinois Muslim Action Day is not about Muslims, it is about action.”
Junaid Afeef, Ex president of Muslim Bar Association asked the government to give public education reform a top priority and to pass legislation to give every child access to good teacher.
Alie Kabba, executive director of United African Organization, President of ICIRR BOD spoke about immigrant and refugee services. He said, “Illinois is home to 1.8 million immigrants. It is the sixth largest State in terms of immigrant population in the country. He asked the Governor and legislators to maintain the immigrant and refugee services line item budget to $ 8.6 million. He said, “With the dramatic growth of immigrant and refugee communities, this is not the time to slash funding for immigrant and refugee services.”
Lawrence Benito, Deputy Director of ICIRR, talked about the redistricting issue.
Brian Sauder, Executive Director of Faith in Place talked about contamination with shell gas extraction. He said, “With shell gas extractions coming to Illinois we want to make sure those regulations are in place to protect our drinking water from contamination. Senate bill 664 provides safeguards by requiring companies that extract natural gas from shell to disclose the chemicals they use for this process.”
Dr Zaher Sehloul asked the legislators to initiate pilot programs in different school districts in the state to introduce Arabic, Chinese, Urdu, Russian and other strategic languages in addition to traditional foreign languages so that the students are well equipped to enter the work force.
Leena Surhan of Universal School asked the elected officials to support the Green Ramadan resolution sponsored by Senator Mattie Hunter which says during the ninth month of Islamic Calendar there will be greater awareness among the Muslims and other faith communities of Illinois about the environment, to encourage the reduction of carbon production, encourage recycling and to reduce waste of water consumption.
Alaa Mukahhal from Immigrant Youth Justice Legue (IYJL) talked about the Illinois Dream Act. “Equal access to education is not an immigration issue it is a human rights issue and it affects all communities,” she said.
Illinois Muslim Action Day Press Conference
IMAD Rally Attracts1200 Muslims, Mostly Youth
Dr. Jannan Hashim and Dr. Bombade Shakoor-Abdulla conducted the rally in the rotunda of Illinois General Assembly Building which attracted 1200 Muslims from all over Chicago.
Dr. Zaher Sehloul, Chairman CIOGC, who recently visited Syria, said, “People of the Middle East are dying to have the same rights which we take as granted here.” He further said, “We are not here for issues related to only Muslim community. We would like our state to be healthier, better, stronger and more competitive. We are not here for Muslim-centric issues we are here for state-centric issues.” He condemned Peter King’s hearing on radicalization of Muslim mosques. He said, “We are here for a radical idea called democracy”.
Ahlam Jbara, Associate Director of CIOGC, talked about various issues.
Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of CAIR Chicago, talked about his experience during his recent visit to Egypt and his presence at Tehrir Square. He said, “I am looking at the future leaders.”
Senator Christine Radogno(R) of 41st District spoke to show her support . She said that she introduced Hall Food Act 10 years ago and President Osama was the cosponsor of that Act.
Alaa Mukahhal from Immigrant Youth Justice Legue (IYJL) talked about Illinois Dream Act.
Senator 20th District Iris Y. Martinez, first Latino Senator said, “I might be the first but I am not going to be the last.” She further said, “We as a family and as a community have to be very involved in the government issues and policies that exist all over this great State.” She commended Ahlam Jbara for her activism and congratulated her for being awarded on the International Women Day.
Dr. Nina Odeoti-Hassan. First Muslim Senior Staffer working under John J. Cullerton, President of the Illinois Senate, encouraged young people to apply for internships in the State Government.
Aliya Bilal from IMAN commended the Governor for signing Illinois Fresh Foods Bill. She said, “Most of these funds should go to the local smaller businesses within the communities.”
Alie Kabba, executive director of United African Organization. President of ICIRR BOD, talked about the Immigrant and Refugee Services Line Item. He asked the government not to slash the funding for these services.
Representative Ken Dunkin of 5th District said, “Most of us politicians need to be educated on how beautiful the human spirit is. Some times we forget that Islam is a peaceful religion with peaceful and beautiful people who add and contribute to our great democracy.”
Mona Elgindy, Dean of Student and Legal Affairs IFS Villa Park, said, “IMAD would become a catalyst for every American not just Muslims to stand up and get involved and make a difference. Stand for injustice. Have a voice for voiceless and do a good deed. These qualities are not only American by nature as State and Federal constitution allows but they are profoundly Islamic in nature.”
Reema Ahmed, Director of Project Mobilize ( Project M), said, “We are here to show our elected officials that we are taking our government seriously and we want to be part of it too.”
This scribe representing the North Side Muslim community talked about the undocumented youth and their hardships. I said that we are not here for the Muslim kids in the north side of Chicago but we are here for all the kids from different faiths and ethnicities.
Brian Sauder, Executive Director Faith in Place, talked about the environmental issues.
Amal Ali, a CIOGC Youth Organizer, delivered an emotional speech. She said, “This is a sight that I will remember for a long time. Shame on us if we don’t take advantage of the freedom that we have today.
Leadership Breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion
Like the last two years, Muslim Leadership gathered early in the morning to meet the Governor and elected officials at a breakfast in the Governor’s mansion. Dr. Zaher Sehloul spoke about the CIOGC’s purpose to organize IMAD. He said, “It is the third Illinois Muslim Day and it is the second time the Governor didn’t meet the Muslim Leadership at this breakfast which is happening in his mansion where he lives.”
Senator Ira Silverstein said that he represents a very diverse community in the 8th district. He said his doors are always open. Later, he met a group of undocumented students from the 8th district along with this scribe and a young activist Rabia. He promised to support the Illinois Dream Act and other issues lobbied at the Illinois Muslim Action Day. John J. Cullerton, President of the Illinois Senate, speaking to the Leadership said, “There is a certain amount of governmental illiteracy that we need to overcome.” “The very fact that you are here shows that you are more knowledgeable than most.” He added.
Jack Lavin, Governor’s Chief of Staff, welcomed the IMAD Leadership on behalf of the Governor and introduced Samreen Khan and Sohair Omar, the two Pakistani Americans who are working in his staff as policy analysts. Samreen Khan has been the liaison for the Muslim and South Asian community since the beginning of the previous term. .
Cristal Thomas, Deputy Governor, said Governor Quinn is a man of faith and has a lot of support and respect for all faiths. She said that the present government recognizes the issues faced by different faith groups and communities and would work to address them.
Ahlam Jbara, Associate Director of CIOGC, gave a brief outline of what will be happening later in the day.
Nation Coming out of the Shadows, Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic
“I lived with a constant cloud of fear hung over my head,” said Alaa Mukahhal of Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), speaking to more than 500 young boys and girls from different immigrant communities she said, “We are country of proud immigrants and we will not bow down to bigotry and hate. We are above it. I am not scared, not sorry, not ashamed. A number will not define me because I have a name and my name is Alaa and I am undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic.”
Young speakers, one after another from Latino, Chinese, European, Philipino, Arab and other ethnicities told their stories of fear, hatred and discriminations. How they are being barred from getting a driving license or entering into a college for higher education. With tears in their eyes and protest in their speech they ended their statements on three words: undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic. They gathered in front of Daley Center in the heart of downtown Chicago to participate in a rally organized by IYJL, Korean Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC), Nuetra Voz, University of Chicago Coalition for immigrant Rights (UCCIR), Organization of Latin American Students, Albany Park Theater Company and United Church of Christ-Illinois Immigration Task Force.
Ana, a high school senior said she came to support her friends, they should be given the same opportunity as she was.
Mariam Villarruel, a high school senior said, ”I am a senior, it is hard to figure out how my papers go for entry into a college.” Conner Magneusln said, “Give ‘em a break.” Carolina Parra broke up into tears and said, “We will see change. No matter how hard we try.”
“Up up with education. Down down with deportation” and ”Hey Obama. Don’t deport my mama.” The youth danced while chanting these slogans.
IYJL is lobbying to get the “Illinois Dream Act” passed by the State General Assembly which will allow the undocumented immigrant youth to get driving license and allocate State-sponsored scholarship for their college education.
Jalsa-e-Eid Milad-un-Nabi Attracts Large Number of Chicago Muslims
A jam-packed audience listened to the speakers with traditional respect at the Jalsa-e-Eid Milad-un-Nabi held at the Northshore Banquet in Chicago. The program was organized by Urdu Times Foundation in collaboration with other literary and educational organizations including IQRA’ International Educational Foundation.
Famous Egyptian rector Sari Hafiz Sheikh Ali Shamsuddin recited Sura Rehman followed by Naat by Mr. Hamid Amrohi. Mrs. Shafia Quadri read a well-researched paper on the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). This scribe spoke on various aspects of Seerah concentrating on the importance of education in Islam. Hafiz Mohammad Ikhlas used Qur’anic verses to highlight the life of the last Prophet(SAW). Maulana Syed Najmuddin Quadri gave a detailed account of the life of Prophet Muhammad(SAW) stressing the importance of love and affection his followers need to demonstrate for him, to get close to the creator.
Dr. Muzaffar Farooqi read an article he wrote some time ago which addressed historical events, signs and events which culminated in the coming of the Prophet Muhammed(SAW) as the last messenger of Allah (SWT)
Dr. Shahid Siddiqi expressed the importance of secular modern education along with religious education. He said Muslims have to learn from the Seerah to make their future better. Instead of fighting with each other if they follow the attributes of love, peace, unity and harmony, which were the prominent factors in the Prophet’s (SAW) life, the future of Muslim Ummah will be very bright. He said, “We should learn to forgive and get united. “
Dr. Abidullah Ghazi, Executive Director of IQRA’, spoke on the importance of teaching Seerah, Qura’an and other religious subjects in a scientifically organized manner which could meet the needs of children growing up in the Western world. He gave a detailed history of the struggles and achievements of IQRA’ Educational Foundation in this regard.
Maulana Hazrat Badruddin Quadri said that until there is devotion and love, no one can become a true follower of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He said to be a good and obedient, one should have enormous love for the Prophet (SAW)
Naat and Hamd were also recited by Syed Sikander, Birjis Taimuri, Muhammed Habibuddin, Usman Quadri, Nida Rehman and Sana Khan.
Alderman Bernard Stone of 50th Ward also came to the event. Urdu Times columnist Javed Riaz introduced him to the audience and welcomed him on behalf of the community. He said he had come to congratulate the Muslims on the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He commended Urdu Times Foundation for organizing such a good event.
This event was masterly conducted by Professor Masroor Qureshi.
Barkaat Foods BPL 12/12 Indoor Night Cricket
The tournament was presented to the Chicagoland by Barkaat Foods and Bolingbrook Premier League. It started around Thanksgiving weekend. The official name of the tournament is Barkaat Foods BPL 12/12 Indoor Night Cricket. The games were played at Ditka Dome in Bolingbrook and Glen Ayre Soccer Club in Carol Stream.
Eighteen (18) teams participated in the tournament, including American Cricket Conferences’ top teams such as Cougars, Villa Park and Bolingbrook Cricket Club.
Each team played 7 regular season games. Two top ranked teams qualified directly for the semi-finals, which were DePaul and Cougars. The two other teams that qualified for after knocking out oppositions in the quarter-finals were Bolingbrook Cricket Club and Flames. DePaul beat Flames in a hard fought semi-final game, while Cougars defeated Bolingbrook Cricket Club in an equally tough series.
Cougars team consists of big names from the American Cricket Conference, like Waseem Khan, Airaj Wahab and Salman Khan. They play with great composure and skill under the captaincy of Hashim Raza.
DePaul, on the other hand, consists of current and former DePaul students who play with a ‘never die’ attitude under the leadership of Jibran Ilyas. They are not the most skilled team in the tournament but always light up the cricket field with their passion and excitement.
DePaul and Cougars have met in the finals in 2009 Night Tournament. Cougars won that trophy. They met again in regular season of this year’s tournament where DePaul beat Cougars in a thriller of a match.
Usually Cougars are the favorite in the big games because of their experience, but after DePaul’s clinical performance in a crucial knockout game against Flamez last weekend, it’s hard to say which team is the favorite to lift the trophy this year. We will know this Friday when they meet again to play for the Barkaat Food BPL Trophy.
The games start at 8pm, while the Red Carpet session (interviews of players and audience members) with Express News will start at 7pm at Ditka Dome in Bolingbrook (730 N Bolingbrook Dr, Bolingbrook, IL 60440).