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Husnaa Vhora

Hundreds gathered at the Islamic Center of 

Naperville (ICN) on February 26 for an interfaith 

solidarity vigil, which was co-sponsored by CIOGC 

and Protected by Faith. The event included leaders 

from all faiths, music, and a joint call to action.

Among the many speakers were Shoaib Khadri, 

President of ICN, Aadil Farid of the Islamic Center 

of Naperville, Father Corey Brost of the Children 

of Abraham Coalition, Rabbi Marc Rudolph of 

Congregation Beth 

Shalom, Sheikh Hassan 

Ali of MECCA Center, 

Bishop Wayne Miller, 

President of the Council 

of Religious Leaders 

of Metropolitan 

Chicago (CRLMC), 

Yuri Diaz of the 

Resurrection Project, 

Jamillah Rashad and 

Imelda Salazar of 

the Southwest Organizing Project, Rabbi David 

Wolkenfeld of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel, Karen 

Danielson and Husnaa Vhora of the Council of 

Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), 

and Father Brendan Curran of Dominican University.

After Shoaib Khadri welcomed attendees, 

opening prayers were given on behalf of each faith 

community. Aadil Farid offered an opening prayer on 

behalf of the Muslim community, while Father Corey 

Brost and Rabbi Marc Rudolph did so on behalf of 

the Christian and Jewish communities respectively. 

This was followed by a prayer about the light of 

God, which was recited in English, Spanish, and 


In his opening prayer, Rabbi Marc Rudolph 

narrated the story of four Muslim women, who 

knocked on his door, after the increasing amount 

of threats to Jewish Community Centers and 

synagogues. The women came bearing flowers, gifts, 

and a note of support. “I suspect that they came 

because they realize that these series of threats 

represented more than a hate crime against the 

Jewish religion. They realize that an assault on any 

In This Issue   


Coming Events

• CIOGC News  

p. 2

• Civic Engagement  p. 5

• Youth 


p. 6

• Interfaith   

p. 7

• Community    

p. 8

• Insights 


p. 9

• Classified   

p. 10

•  Mar. 2 - #YouAreMyNeighbor 

Interfaith Event

•  Mar. 4 - Syrian Community Network 

Job Fair

•  Mar. 5 - Mecca Center Annual 


•  Mar. 11 - Islamic Center of Wheaton 

Fundraising Dinner

•  Mar. 11 - MCC Academy Annual 




eighbors and interfaith leaders 

joined the Council of  Islamic 

Organizations of  Greater Chicago 

(CIOGC), Downtown Islamic Center 

(DIC), and Mosque Foundation in 

a nationwide #WeAreAllAmerica 

action during noontime Jummah 

(congregational) prayer on February 3 

to express opposition against President 

Trump’s ban on Muslims and refugees

The action at DIC began with a 

khutba (sermon) by Ahmed Rehab, 

Executive Director of  CAIR-Chicago, 

followed by congregational prayer. 

Underscoring the importance of  uniting 

with our neighbors, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, 

Civic Engagement Council Chair, then 

invited interfaith leaders including Rev. 

Avena Ward of  St. Pauls United Church 

of  Christ, Rabbi Lauren Henderson of  

Mishkan Chicago, Father Tony Pizzo 

of  St. Rita Catholic Church, and Clete 

Kiley, Priest of  the Roman Catholic 

Archdiocese of  Chicago to share their 

expressions of  solidarity with the 

Muslim community. 

“We are here to pray with you and 

pray for you,” said Father Tony Pizzo, 

St. Rita Catholic Church. Sharing the 

same sentiment, Kiley of  the Catholic 

Archdiocese spoke of  

refugees in from a Biblical 

perspective, “If  we do not 

welcome strangers, woe to 

us.” Community leaders 

and congregants then 

came together outside of  

the mosque for a public 

demonstration to display their support 

for Muslims and refugees by singing 

“We Shall Overcome,” and chanting 

“This is what America looks like!” 



in Bridgeview 

joined faith 

leaders and 


in forming a 

human chain 

around the 

mosque to 

reiterate the 

message of  


against Trump’s ban. Among the 

supporters were Oscar Chacon 

of  Alianza Americas and Latino 

community activists as well as Rabbi 

Michael Davis of  the 

Jewish Voice for Peace 

and members of  the local 

Jewish community. 

“In you, we see us. 

And we want you to see 

yourselves in us,” Chacon 

said. “We’ve known what 

it’s like to live in fear and 

to pray in fear so we feel in our hearts 

what the Muslim community is going 

through right now. And we’re here to 

stand with them,” Rabbi Davis added. 

“People are afraid of  

being in large gatherings 

of  Muslims that might 

be targeted. So to see 

the human chain on an 

occasion like this is to feel 

that sense of  security,” said 

Deanna Othman of  Mosque 

Foundation and CIOGC. 

Dar-us-Sunnah in Evanston and 

the Mecca Center in Willowbrook also 

held #WeAreAllAmerica events for 

dozens of  neighbors and faith leaders 

from their local communities. CIOGC 

and its member organizations extend 

deep gratitude and appreciation for 

the overwhelming support received by 

faith communities and our 

neighbors on the day of  

action and in recent weeks. 

The national 

#WeAreAllAmerica action 

is sponsored by CIOGC 

and organized by the We 

Are All America Coalition 

which includes Alianza 

Americas, America’s 

Voice, Church World Service, Human 

Rights First, International Rescue 

Committee, Lutheran Immigration and 

Refugee Service, National Partnership 

for New Americans, and Welcoming 

America. We Are America is a coalition 

of  immigrant, refugee, and faith 

organizations that are working together 

to support our core American values 

as a nation of  refuge for those fleeing 

persecution and violence, and as a 

pluralistic nation of  immigrants and 

religious tolerance. ♦

#WeAreAllAmerica Unites 

Muslim Community and 

Neighbors Against ‘Muslim Ban’

“To see the human 

chain on an occasion 

like this is to feel that 

sense of security.”

Deanna Othman, CIOGC and 

Mosque Foundation

“We are here to pray 

with you and pray 

for you.”

Father Tony Pizzo, St. Rita 

Catholic Church





'Muslim ban'

Love Thy



There is an ethical 

imperative facing 

us today. Now more 

than ever, we must 

learn to stand 

Karen Danielson, Board 

member and Secretary of 


Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 



Mission of  CIOGC

Our mission is to be the unifying federation of Islamic organiza-

tions of greater Chicagoland, the leading advocate of Muslim com-

munity interests, and a catalyst for enriching American society.

The Chicago Crescent Team


Design & Layout:


Deborah King
Farah Bousmaha
Rita Sutton






Ex-Officio Board Member:

Bassam Osman
Shahnawaz Khan
Karen Danielson
Tasneem Osmani
Halil Demir
Saleem Shaikh
Zahid Mohsin
Gregory Abdullah Mitchell
Deanna Othman
Mohammed Kaiseruddin


Executive Director:

Administrative Director:

Communications Director:

Communications Associate:

Programs Coordinator:

Youth Coordinator:

Civic Engagement Associate:

Rita Sutton
Aymen Abdel Halim
Sana Ihmoud
Walid Sankari
Jameel Karim

Husnaa Vhora

Committee Chairs

Finance Committee:

Interfaith Committee:

Islamic Schools:

Legislative Affairs Committee:

Membership Committee:

Personnel Committee:

Refugee & Social Services Committee:

Top Muslim Achievers Committee:

Zakat Committee:

Zoning and Land Use Affairs:

Tasneem Osmani
Shakir Moiduddin
Azam Nizamuddin
Sahira Sadiq
Bambade Shakoor-Abdullah
Bassam Osman
Syed Zahid Mohsin
Syed Zahid Mohsin
Mohammed Kaiseruddin
Quadir Husain Khan
Faiyaz Hussain, Esq.

The Chicago Crescent is a publication of the Council of Islamic Organizations of 

Greater Chicago (CIOGC). For over 20 years, the Council has served as the unifying 

federation of Islamic organizations in greater Chicagoland, the leading advocate of 

Illinois Muslim community interests, and a catalyst for enriching American society.
The views and opinions expressed in The Chicago Crescent are those of the authors 

and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CIOGC.


231 S. State Street, Suite 300, Chicago, Illinois 60604

Phone: (312) 506-0070 Fax: (312) 506-0077


© 2017 Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC)








We are currently hiring for one full-time 


• Youth Director

The Council seeks individuals with 

demonstrated skills who can effectively 

help coordinate, organize and execute 

CIOGC programs.  



To apply for a position, send a cover 

letter and resume to jobs@ciogc.org 

with the title of the position in the 

subject line. Include a writing sample, 

links to your portfolio and/or work 

samples relevant to the position for 

which you are applying. To learn more 

about the CIOGC family and the work 

we do, visit www.ciogc.org.


IOGC offers its prayers and deepest 

condolences to the family of  Dr. Esmael 

Khoushanpur, former Vice Chair of  the Council 

of  Islamic Organizations of  Greater Chicago 


Born in 1934 in Tehran, Iran, Dr. 

Khoushanpur served as an advisor to the 

Foundation on Islamic Affairs and was a 


professor of  


Relations at the 

Graduate Theological 

Foundation from 

which he received his 


He directed 

interfaith programs 

at the Islamic 

Cultural Center of  

Greater Chicago in Northbrook, Illinois for 

nearly 20 years and was Professor Emeritus 

at Northwestern Medical School, serving as 

chairman of  numerous university medical 

school committees dealing with educational and 

administrative issues, as well as President of  the 

medical school’s faculty senate, during his 36 

years there.

The third edition of  his textbook, Renal 

Physiology: An Integrative Approach, is 

scheduled for publication by Springer Publisher. 

Dr. Koushanpour traveled extensively within the 

US and abroad to lecture, present papers, and 

chair scientific sessions at international scientific 

achievements and was a Fulbright Scholar at 

University of  Heidelberg in Germany.

Active in interfaith programs and 

building bridges between Islam and 

other religions as the Council’s Vice 

Chair, Dr. Koushanpour was the co-

chairman of  our Catholic-Muslim 

Dialogue Committee. He served on 

the Board of  Directors of  Gilead 

Outreach and the Referral Center of  

Chicago and has been honored by the 

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation with 

their Faith in Community Award for 

building bridges between faiths.

His contributions to medical science, 

community service, and Islamic education 

have cemented his memory at CIOGC and far 

beyond. He was a fixture in many important 

institutions in Chicago, leaving his legacy across 

a broad swathe of  society, and will surely be 


Inna Lillahiwainnailaihiraji’un. To Allah we 

belong and surely to Him we shall return. ♦

CIOGC Expresses Condolences for Former 

Vice Chair, Dr. Esmael Khoushanpur

Dr. Esmael Khoushanpur 

directed interfaith 

programs at the Islamic 

Cultural Center of 

Greater Chicago in 

Northbrook, Illinois for 

nearly 20 years.


ister Tabassum Haleem served as the 

Executive Director of  the Council of  Islamic 

Organizations of  Greater Chicago (CIOGC) 

from May 2015 to January 2017. During 

her tenure as Executive 

Director, Sr. Tabassum 

led CIOGC’s efforts in 

working with member 

organizations, interfaith 

partners, civic organizations, 

elected officials and 

government agencies 

to advocate for Muslim 

community interests, assist 

the American Muslim 

community in their positive 

contributions to our country 

and broader communities, 

and build coalitions to promote a fair and just 


“I am confident that Sr. Tabassum will 

continue to contribute highly to the Chicago 

Muslim community which she always loved and 

scarified for. We wish her the very best in her 

future endeavors and thank her greatly for her 

tireless efforts at CIOGC.” said Dr. Bassam 

Osman, Chair of  CIOGC. “Sister Tabassum 

worked very hard for the Muslim community 

as the Executive Director of  CIOGC, where 

she built relationships with interfaith and civic 

groups as well as local and state government. 

I had the pleasure of  working with her on 

many occasions and feel lucky to call her a 

good friend.” commented Suzanne Akhras 

Sahloul, Executive Director, Syrian Community 


Prior to joining CIOGC, Sr. 

Tabassum held various executive 

positions including, as Director 

of  Government Relations 

at PolyBrite International, 

Regional Controller of  BMW 

NA, and Financial Analyst at 

Paramount Pictures Corp. She 

holds a Bachelor of  Science in 

Accounting from the University 

of  Illinois at Chicago, Master of  

Public Policy and Master of  Arts 

from the University of  Chicago, 

and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant 

(CPA) and Chartered Global Management 

Accountant (CGMA). Sr. Tabassum serves 

on the Board of  Trustees for the Naperville 

Education Foundation (NEF), is a Leadership 

Greater Chicago Fellow and a McCormick 

Tribune Urban Policy Leadership Fellow, and 

has served as a co-Chair for DuPage United, 

a community organizing group and on the 

Advisory Committee for the Naperville 

Chamber of  Commerce-Green Leadership 

Council. She is married to Dr. Azeem S. Haleem 

and has four sons. ♦

CIOGC thanks Tabassum Haleem 

for Her Contributions to Chicago 

Muslim Community

“I am confident that Sr. 

Tabassum will continue 

to contribute highly to the 

Chicago Muslim community 

which she always loved and 

scarified for. We wish her 

the very best in her future 

endeavors and thank her 

greatly for her tireless efforts at 


Dr. Bassam Osman, Chair of CIOGC


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For more information about these opportunities and how to apply, please visit 

CIOGC’s Intern page at www.ciogc.org. 

Gain valuable hand-ons experience in civic 

engagement, media, and youth leadership

Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 



CIOGC Announces New Board of Directors


he Council of  Islamic Organizations 

of  Greater Chicago (CIOGC), a 

coalition of  over 60 Islamic institutions 

across Chicagoland, has elected a new 

Board of  Directors that has assumed 

responsibilities as of  January 1, 2017. 

Staying true to its mission of  promoting 

unity, the new CIOGC Board represents 

a cross section of  the Chicago Muslim 

community. From medical and 

business professionals to educators 

and humanitarian activists, the CIOGC 

board is 




that embody 

the spirit of  





elections and 

term limits 


in CIOGC bylaws ensure the infusion 

of  new blood on a regular basis and has 

led to peaceful transition of  power/

responsibilities for the last quarter 

century. Our new Board members are 

well-connected with the 

diverse segments of  our 

community and bring 

decades of  experience to 

the CIOGC table. We are 

fortunate to have them at 

the helm of  CIOGC as 

we unite and strengthen 

the Chicagoland Muslim community,” 

said Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin, co-

founder and former Chair, who will also 

be a part of  the Board as an Ex-Officio.  


IOGC’s new Chair, Dr. Bassam 

Osman, is a neurologist by 

profession and is a co-

founder of  CIOGC. He 

has served as the Chair 

of  the CIOGC By-Laws 

and Membership 

Committees. He has 

intimately worked with several CIOGC 

member organizations, such as Mosque 

Foundation, MECCA Center and 

Universal School. His work with 

CIOGC and its member organizations 

for over 20 years offers priceless insight 

and experience in his new role as Chair 

of  CIOGC.  


yed Shahnawaz Khan, the new Vice 

Chair of  CIOGC, has previously 

served at CIOGC as 

Secretary and Treasurer. 

He is a former Board 

member of  the Mecca 

Center in Willowbrook 

and former Chair of  

Downtown Islamic 

Center (DIC) in 

Chicago. His decades of  experience with 

the Muslim community make him a 

valuable asset to the Board.  


aren Danielson, the new CIOGC 

Secretary, represents the Bridgeview 

area Muslim community 

as a leader at MAS 

(Muslim American 

Society) - Chicago and 

the Mosque Foundation. 

She has experience with 

CIOGC as a previous 

Board Secretary and as 

part of  CIOGC’s Interfaith, Intra-faith, 

and Illinois Muslim Action Day 



asneem Osmani, CIOGC’s Treasurer, 

has been associated with CIOGC for 

over 13 years, and has 

held positions of  Vice 

Chair and Board 

Director with the 

organization. As the 

Chair of  the CIOGC 

Annual Dinner 

Committee since 2013, 

she has led the preparation and planning 

for the organization’s yearly fundraising 

event which draws up to a thousand 

Muslims representing the diverse 

Chicagoland community.  


alil Demir, is a new CIOGC Board 

Member and represents Zakat 

Foundation of  America, 

a Chicago-based global 


organization and 

member of  CIOGC. As 

a leader in the labor and 

interfaith community, he 

has also served on the 

board of  ARISE-Chicago since 2014. 

His experience and accomplishments as 

a non-profit leader earned him CIOGC’s 

award of  recognition as the 2016 Top 



aleem Shaikh, a new CIOGC Board 

Member, has experience as a 

previous Board member 

and Treasurer, and 

member of  the Human 

Resources Committee. 

As a community 

organizer, he has served 

as CIOGC’s 

representative to the 

Illinois Coalition of  Immigrant and 

Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and as Chair of  

the Education and Finance Committees 

at Islamic Foundation - Villa Park where 

he is also a founding member of  its full 

time school.  


ahid Mohsin, is a returning CIOGC 

Board Member, and has previously 

served on the Personnel 

Committee. As a 

member of  the Islamic 

Circle of  North 

America (ICNA) Shura, 

he represents the 

humanitarian group at 

CIOGC House of  

Representatives meetings. He has also 

previously served as the President of  

ICNA-Chicago for four years. 


eanna Othman is a journalist and 

educator who has a religion column 

on the Huffington Post. 

She's also been published in the 

Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-

Times, the Milwaukee 

Journal Sentinel, the 

Daily Herald and on 

Salon.com, Patheos, 

AlterNet, The New 

Arab and the blog 

Mondoweiss. She also 

served as the assistant 

editor of  Islamic 

Horizons magazine. Othman currently 

teaches literature and journalism at 

Universal School in Bridgeview, IL. She 

is also an AMP-Chicago board member 

and the chapter's media coordinator. 

She holds a Bachelor's in English and 

International Studies, and a Master's in 

Journalism, both from Northwestern 



regory Abdullah Mitchell, a licensed 

attorney in the State of  Illinois, is 

chairperson for 


Development Institute 

and a board member of  

Masjid Al-Taqwa of  

Chicago, Illinois. Having 

served on the board of, 

and provided legal 

assistance to, many Muslim 

organizations over the past 25 years, 

Brother Mitchell brings a wealth of  

knowledge and experience concerning 

not for profit organizations to CIOGC.

The slate of  Board Members of  2017 is 

listed below:   

Dr. Bassam Osman, Chair   

Syed Shahnawaz Khan, Vice Chair   

Karen Danielson, Secretary   

Tasneem Osmani, Treasurer   

Halil Demir, Board Director   

Saleem Shaikh, Board Director   

Dr. Zahid Mohsin, Board Director   

Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin, Ex-

Officio Board Member   

The new Board will add three more 

Board members of  their choice. For 

more information about CIOGC please 

call 312-506-0070 or visit 


Our new Board 

members are well-

connected with the 

diverse segments of our 

community and bring 

decades of experience 

to the CIOGC table.” 

Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin, 

Co-Founder and former Chair, 

Ex-Officio Board Member

one group is an assault on us all.”

In the spirit of solidarity, the crowd, led by Father Brendan 

Curran then stood up and joined together to sing, “We Shall 

Overcome.” During the verse “We’ll walk hand in hand,” everyone 

began linking arms and rocking side to side.” A loud, thunderous 

applause followed and attendees were seen  

embracing one another.

The final part of the vigil included a call to action from many 

community members. The first speaker to encourage attendees to 

take action was Karen Danielson, Board member and Secretary of 

CIOGC, who expressed the importance of solidarity, “There is an 

ethical imperative facing us today. Now more than ever, we must 

learn to stand together.”

Then, Father Brendan Curran, Husnaa Vhora, Imelda Salazar 

and Rabbi Megan GoldMarche each promised support to 

immigrants, refugees and faith groups other than their own. 

Husnaa Vhora said, “When our undocumented brothers and 

sisters are being torn apart from their families, I as a Muslim 

woman will stand with you.” Father Curran ended by engaging the 

crowd in a chant where he would ask, “Will you stand,” to which 

the crowd enthusiastically replied each time, “We will stand!” ♦




























Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 





he Council of  Islamic Organization 

of  Greater Chicago (CIOGC) 

and a number of  Muslim community 

organizations joined the Illinois 

Coalition of  Immigrant and Refugee 

Rights (ICIRR) for a rally at the Chicago 

Teachers Union on January 14 to call 

on elected officials and leaders to make 

Illinois a safe and welcoming place for 

all of  its residents including the Muslim 

community, immigrants, and refugees. 

The rally which brought over 1,200 

people aimed to challenge the 

incoming Trump administration’s 

threats to deport millions of  

undocumented immigrants as 

well as establish a Muslim registry 

and ban Muslim immigrants. 

Alongside CIOGC were member 

organizations Arab American Family 

Services (AAFS), Syrian Community 

Network (SCN), Inner-City Muslim 

Action Network (IMAN) and its 

partners CAIR-Chicago and the Arab 

American Action Network (AAAN). 

Dr. Bassam Osman, Chairman of  

CIOGC, set the tone for the rally 

through his strong opening prayer on 

behalf  of  the Muslim community. Dr. 

Osman drew loud cheers from the 

crowd when he said, “Lord, this land is 

your land, it is not Trump’s land.” He 

also prayed for strength and resolve to 

fight discrimination and Islamophobia.

After hearing testimonies from 

diverse speakers, the energized crowd 

was encouraged to act by CIOGC 

Executive Director Tabassum Haleem 

who stated, “We want to let Governor 

Rauner know that we want him to 

make Illinois safe for immigrants and 

refugees by supporting the policies in 

our platform.” 

In order to send 

an even bigger 

message to 

the governor’s 

office, Haleem 

urged the crowd 

to hold up their 

“Make Illinois Safe” signs so that a 

picture could be taken and delivered to 

Governor Rauner’s office.

A performance by the group 

Elephant Rebellion engaged the crowd 

very early in the program. One of  the 

performers, activist and hip-hop artist 

Uran Kabashi, is a refugee from Kosova 

who came to the United States in 1999. 

Kabashi said that the event was very 

well organized and that the rally was 

able to get the 

set outcome 

“because of  


and action in 




and refugee, 


Rehab Alkadi, 

of  the Syrian 


Network has 

been in the 

United States 

for four years with her husband and 

son. She reflected on her experience 

as a refugee, starting from scratch and 

how she and her family just want to be 

accepted. “We didn’t want to be refugees 

here, but the difficult situation forced 

us to abandon our country. We’re not 

trying to be a burden, we just want to 

live with peace and dignity.”

During the event, attendees used 

the hashtags #WeWillResist and 

#HereToStay to show their solidarity 

and send the message that they will 

not back down. AAAN’s youth leader, 

Nora, told the crowd that the Muslim 

registry equates to racial profiling and is 

unacceptable. “We will stand together 

against bigotry and hate,” she added. 

More youth presence from the event 

came from The Korean American 

Resource and Cultural Center’s Luke 

H. who is studying to become a 

scientist. He said, “I am undocumented, 

unapologetic, and unafraid!” 

A debriefing and reflection session 

followed the event for members from 

participating organizations on how 

community members can continue 

working towards immigration and 

refugee policies that protect liberty and 

justice for all. ♦

“Lord, this land is your 

land, it is not Trump’s 


Dr. Bassam Osman, CIOGC Chair

Chicago Muslims Join Rally to Defend 

Immigrant and Refugee Rights

PHOTO CREDIT: Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR)


IOGC and Muslim community 

leaders met with the Alianza 

Americas and Latino community 

activists on February 3 for a dialogue to 

address President Donald Trump’s ban 

on Muslim immigrants and refugees. 

Representing the Chicagoland Muslim 

community were Dr. Bassam Osman, 

Shahnawaz Khan, Karen Danielson, Dr. 

Zaher Sahloul, Suzanne Sahloul, Ahlam 

Jbara, Nareman Taha, and Itedal Shalabi

The program offered opportunities 

to discuss and develop 

common understanding 

and cause with each other. 

Earlier that day, Alianza 

Americas and the Mosque 

Foundation came together 

for a #WeAreAllAmerica 

action in which Muslims 

and their neighbors formed a human 

chain around the mosque as a symbol 

of  unity and resistance against the 

‘Muslim ban.

The dialogue, which was organized 

by Alianza Americas, allowed members 

of  the Muslim community to share 

the challenges they are facing due to 

the ban. Members of  the both Latino 

and Muslim communities then shared 

common experiences and struggles 

which helped illustrate the real-life 

negative impact the ban has had on the 

lives of  their families and communities.

Reiterating the message that “an 

attack on the Muslim community is an 

attack on all of  us,” Alianza 

Americas Board President 

Claudia Lucero stated, “We 

believe that this is the time 

for our communities to 

see their own individual 

struggles as part of  a larger 

shared struggle against 

prejudice, racism, and xenophobia.” 

The groups are currently planning next 

steps for united action. ♦

“An attack on the 

Muslim community is 

an attack on all of us.”

Claudia Lucero, Alianza 

Americas Board President

CIOGC Engages in Dialogue with 

Latino Community Activists

CiogC C












ourty-five people participated in CIOGC’s 

Community Organizing Training on February 18 

at Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview to learn how 

to build community power through utilizing key 

organizing tools. The training was sponsored by 

CIOGC in partnership with DuPage United and 

United Power for Action and Justice.

Participants found the presentation engaging, 

helpful, and relevant as President Donald Trump’s 

recent executive orders have sparked not only 

condemnation but increased civic engagement from 

the Chicago Muslim community. “Bringing in real 

examples of successful action was very helpful,” 

said one attendee.

CIOGC’s Community Organizing Training is aimed 

to help community members develop the necessary 

skills to become effective civic engagement leaders 

in their communities. The training is required for 

Senate Page Program participants who will take 

part in Illinois Muslim Action Day (IMAD), in which 

the Chicagoland Muslim community and partners 

will take a legislative agenda to Springfield on April 

27. Learn more about IMAD and how you can join 

us! ♦

Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 





ook County Sheriff  Tom Dart 

introduced a 24-hour hotline (773-

674-4357) last month for reporting hate 

crimes and incidents of  discrimination 

in response to a “steady increase in 

the number of  hate crimes” against 

Muslims and people who have been 

targeted for their religion, race, 

nationality, and lifestyles.  

The hotline is intended to “help 

connect callers to other agencies, 

Sheriff ’s detectives, or legal assistance” 

for matters that could be better 

addressed through 

a network of  

external resources, 

said an official 

statement by the 


This initiative 

will serve as 

a tangible social service on behalf  

of  Cook County to address a rising 

trend in discriminatory violence that 

has affected the nation. “Hate crimes 

should not be dismissed as a fleeting 

issue or only a problem outside of  Cook 

County” said Sheriff  Dart. “Any act of  

discrimination or targeted intimidation 

within my jurisdiction will be met by the 

full extent of  the law.” According to the 

FBI, the number of  hate crimes against 

Muslims spiked with a 67% rise between 

2014-2015. Last year also marked the 

largest wave of  hate crimes against 

Muslims since the weeks following the 

9/11 attacks with 257 reported anti-

Muslim attacks.  

The establishment of  this hotline is 

a bittersweet development for Chicago 

and its diverse citizenry in the aftermath 

of  a divisive election that many hold 

responsible for the uptick in tensions 

that appear now as a ubiquitous toxin 

in public discourse. There is no doubt 

that the hotline has 

the support of  local 

communities, but it 

is quite unsettling 

that the need for 

such a hotline is 

more immediate 

in 2017 than it has 

been in previous years.  

Even in a northern metropolis like 

Chicago, these tensions have had a 

tangible effect on the daily life of  its 

residents and on the functions of  

civic institutions. “Sheriff  Dart is very 

actively looking for ways to keep things 

safe,” says Professor Seema Imam of  

the National Lewis University and 

member of  the Cook County Sheriff ’s 

Advisory Council. Dr. Imam is also 

a representative of  CIOGC member 

organization the Tazkeyah Center. “The 

hotline that he announced is for ALL 

– whoever feels discrimination or fear. 

They route the calls to those who can 


It is more important now than ever 

that communities and law enforcement 

work together to rectify structural 

deficiencies and address biases in 

officers and civilians alike. The Council 

of  Islamic Organizations of  Greater 

Chicago (CIOGC) has been at the 

forefront of  this endeavor, attending 

quarterly meetings with the Department 

of  Homeland Security and other 

federal and local agencies to ensure that 

Muslims are not unjustly targeted or 

profiled and that the safety of  Muslim 

communities are met.  

Similarly, this hotline represents a 

step in the right direction in fostering 

a safer environment for all citizens. 

Speaking to progress in the face of  

fear, Sherriff  Tom Dart said “What we 

are attempting to do is not solve all the 

problems, but we want people to know 

they do not need to live in fear…They 

can call this number. We will work with 

them.” ♦

Cook County Sheriff’s Department Works 

With Muslim Community on Hate Crimes

According to the FBI, the number of  hate crimes against Muslims spiked with a 67% rise 

between 2014-2015.

“Any act of discrimination or targeted 

intimidation within my jurisdiction 

will be met by the full extent of the 


Tom Dart, Cook County Sheriff

Report Hate Crimes & 

Discrimination to the 

Cook County Sheriff's 

Department Hotline:  



IOGC condemns and expresses 

serious concern regarding the 

bomb threat made by a trespasser 

yesterday at the Islamic Community 

Center of  Des Plaines (ICCD), a 

CIOGC member organization.

The suspect, a white middle-aged 

man carrying a backpack, entered 

the mosque and 

reportedly said 

to a congregant 

“everything here 

will be blown 

up by Friday.” 

The threat was 

reported to local 

police and the 

FBI by the ICCD 

and the suspect 

was taken into 


The threat 

comes in 

the wake of  

President Donald 

Trump’s ‘Muslim 

ban,’ the rise of  

anti-Muslim rhetoric from Trump’s 

administration and supporters, as well 

as the number of  anti-Muslim hate 

groups tripling in 2016, according to 

the Southern Poverty Law Center.

CIOGC Chair Dr. Bassam Osman 

and Ex-Officio Board Member, Dr. 

Mohammed Kaiseruddin, attended a 

press conference led by CAIR-Chicago 

on February 16 to condemn the bomb 

threat and show support for ICCD.

“We take these threats seriously 

and are working with law enforcement 

and community partners to increase 

protection of  Chicagoland Muslim 

institutions and communities,” said Dr. 

Bassam Osman, Chair of  CIOGC. “We 

are currently maintaining close contact 

with the ICCD to provide our support 

during this challenging time.” ♦


n attacker opened fire on a Quebec 

City mosque on January 29 killing 

six people and injuring eight others. 

One man is being held as a suspect and 

another as a witness. CIOGC condemns 

this heinous and tragic atrocity and offer 

our sincere prayers and condolences to 

the victims and their families.

In Texas, The Islamic Center of  

Victoria was destroyed by fire early 

just days before. Victoria police and 

fire departments are coordinating with 

the FBI as well as other agencies to 

determine the cause of the fire.

These incidents come in the wake of  

Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees 

originating from seven majority-Muslim 

Middle Eastern and African countries, 

which was halted by a federal judge, due 

to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil 

Liberties Union (ACLU). Although there 

is a stay on the executive order, CIOGC 

recommends that those affected seek 

the counsel of immigration attorneys as 

outlined in our alert for foreign nationals 

published on 


CIOGC urges community members 

to safeguard their masajid (mosques) and 

institutions against anti-Muslim violence 

or vandalism by: 

•  remaining vigilant 
•  increasing security at their mosques 

and institutions 

•  informing local police of  suspicious 


•  reporting any hate crimes or acts of 

discrimination to the FBI 

•  reporting hate crimes and 

discrimination to the Cook Country 

Sheriff ’s Department hotline: 773-

674-4357 (if applicable) 

Please keep in mind that these 

precautionary measures are only basic 

steps towards ensuring the safety and 

security of our institutions. CIOGC 

encourages the community to pursue 

long-term expertise and security 

professionals to safeguard your masajid 

and organizations. CIOGC also 

encourages our member organizations 

to increase security awareness by sharing 

safety protocols with your respective 

congregations, conducting drills, and 

developing and regularly updating your 

security plans. Local imams are currently 

meeting to address security concerns. ♦

CIOGC Condemns Bomb 

Threat Against Des Plaines 


“We take 

these threats 

seriously and 

are working with 

law enforcement 

and community 


to increase 

protection of 



institutions and 


Dr. Bassam Osman, 


Increase Vigilance and 

Security at Your Mosques 

and Centers

CiogC h












CIOGC recently organized a three-hour legal 

seminar for member organizations on legal and 

administrative compliance. The seminar covered 

the differences between a religious institutions 

such as mosques and churches, and a non-profit 

organization, whether full-time employees can be 

asked to volunteer time beyond 40 hours a week, 

and what political and advocacy activities are 

permissible for 501(c)3 organizations. Nearly thirty 

leaders representing fifteen organizations were in 


The presenter of the seminar was attorney Shari 

Crittendon of the Texas-based Constitutional 

Law Center for Muslims of America (CLCMA). The 

Muslim Legal Defense Fund of America (MLFA), 

which is a CIOGC member organization, established 

CLCMA to specifically serve Muslim organizations. 

In addition to the seminar, CLCMA has offered to 

conduct an audit of individual organizations (by 

appointment) that will be private and confidential 

under attorney-client privileges.

CIOGC offers its sincere thanks and gratitude to 

the Muslim Community Center (MCC) for hosting 

the seminar and treating the participants with 

breakfast and lunch. ♦


Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 




o be honest, mentoring youth 

wasn’t always my dream. In school 

I intended to become a counselor 

specializing in the Muslim American 

community for ALL ages. However, 

when I graduated with my masters at 23 

my focus shifted.  

I had recently moved to Chicago and 

didn’t know anyone. I figured the best 

way to meet people was through my 

local mosque. To my disappointment, 

there were no programs for my age 

group. The aunties took one look at my 

counseling background and my bit of  

privately studied Islamic Studies and 

asked me to start a halaqa.  

At first I took it personally. I resented 

feeling pushed towards the “kids.” 

I thought the elders didn’t take me 

seriously as a professional and wanted 

me to babysit. Yet before I knew it, I 

was booked every weekend to conduct 

workshops for youth all over 

Chicagoland. It became a 

passion that continues to 

consume my life. 

So why mentor youth even 

after I “grew up” myself? 

My number one reason is the resiliency 

of  youth. Though we can all learn to 

change at any age, it’s much easier for a 

child. Youth are plastic and moldable on 

a neurological level. To watch a teenager 

improve and blossom into a well-

adjusted adult is beyond comparison. 

Some minimize the Muslim youth 

experience. They say that “Youth is a 

21st century construct.” Historically, 

one was considered a child until puberty 

then given the responsibilities of  an 

adult. However, neurologically when a 

child nears sexual maturity the synapses 

of  the brain start to prune. The 

prefrontal cortex is poorly connected 

and the underdevelopment causes 

youth to be less rational and less able to 

consider consequences ahead. 

Due to this structure, youth are 

prone to impulsivity and getting 

angry easily. This process 

doesn’t complete until the age 

of  25! Ali (RAD) said “Youth 

is an insanity cured by old age.” 

Imagine dealing with all these chemical 

changes and still having to make the 

right decisions.  

Being a youth is tough in any 

generation. Then tack on the Muslim 

American identity and the current 

political climate. Muslim American 

Youth have the same concerns the larger 

American population has; abuse, neglect, 

bullying, gender identity, self-harm, 

substance abuse, premarital sex, trauma, 

and family issues, etc. We just hide it 

better or are in denial for longer.  

When I first started as a youth 

mentor it’s not because I was the most 

qualified.  No one else was willing.  “It 

takes a village to raise a child.” Youth 

need positive role models in their lives 

in addition to parents. During this 

confusing time, sometimes the only 

person that can break through to a 

youth is someone that isn’t in charge of  

the limits and boundaries placed upon 


Very few are willing to take their 

time to get the proper training to fill 

the gap in services. Our mosques lack 

accessibility to the young. Sometimes we 




braham Lincoln 

said during his 

famous Gettysburg 

Address, “…

government of  the 

people, by the people, 

for the people, shall not 

perish from the earth.” 

This is the government 

he believed in and if  

he were here today, 

he would be proud to 

know that its legacy 

lives on. America has been 

living on this principle of  

the people, by the people, 

for the people for more 

than a century. It helped 

form the fundamental idea 

of  democracy, which allows 

us to be represented and 

to have a voice. We all have 

a voice here, so I want to 

be able to utilize it to its 

fullest and ensure others do as well.

Politics has been an area of  interest 

for me ever since I saw a presidential 

debate on the television. The two 

politicians discussed the people’s needs 

and that triggered something in me. I 

asked my self, “Do they know what I 

want?” and I knew the answer. Truth be 

told, they did not.

I understand that it 

will take a lot of  time to 

reach my goal, but it starts 

with one necessary step: 

understanding what it 

means to be an American 


The term American 

Muslim is very broad, 

considering it fits about five 

to seven million people in 

our country. It is very hard 

to define, but to me, it is someone who 

enjoys their freedom to be who they 

are in the country. They are someone 

who values the foundation America 

has been built upon and acknowledges 

those who treat them properly. They do 

The Value of Youth 


 “Being a youth 

is tough in any 


Aliyah Banister

“I understand that 

it will take a lot of 

time to reach my 

goal, but it starts with 

one necessary step: 

understanding what 

it means to be an 

American Muslim.”

Ummesalmah Abdulbaseer

The People’s Government: 

My Experience as a Senate 


CIOGC’s Senate Page Program offers Muslim youth a chance to 

shadow State Senators.























Three students from Aqsa School, six from Universal School, four from Islamic 

Foundation School, and 13 from CPSA were named 2017-18 State Scholars 

by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. The State Scholar program 

distinguishes graduating seniors from high schools around Illinois with “superior 

academic potential” based on their ACT/SAT exam scores, class rank, and grade 

point average. CIOGC is happy to recognize the students and the schools:  

Aqsa School in Bridgeview:  

Lilia Abushaban 

Wardha Mowla 

Sara Salameh 

Universal School in Bridgeview: 

Laith Abuzir 

Noor Alshrideh 

Aya Hasan 

Rowanne Murrar 

Hamza Shahin 

Shadi Zbeidi 

Islamic Foundation School in Villa 


Hajar McHabcheb 

Nimah Mohiuddin 

Bilal Qureshi 

Samer Wahood 


College Preparatory School of 

America (CPSA) in Lombard: 

Faraz Attar 

Sana Basheer 

Asma Basith 

Eram Fatima 

Areej Kalota 

Mohammad Khan 

Maimona Masood 

Ayesha Mohammed 

Izair Mohammed 

Arfeen Mohiddin 

Syed Raza 

Zainab Siddiqui 

Hamza Zaman 

CIOGC extends its congratulations to all 

of these students, families, and schools, 

and thanks them for bringing pride to our 


Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 





n the day of  Donald J. Trump’s 

presidential inauguration, dozens 

of  community institutions across 

Chicago organized to participate in the 

National Day of  Service, which saw 

service projects enacted to better local 

communities. Spearheaded by Chicago 

Cares, many local nonprofits including 

the Council of  Islamic Organizations 

of  Greater Chicago (CIOGC), recruited 

volunteers who may have never 

participated in community service to give 

back to Chicago.

The MLK National Day of  Service 

is traditionally held on January 16, the 

official MLK Day, but this year CIOGC 

timed its Day of  Service to coincide 

with the presidential inauguration so as 

to reimagine the day as one of  optimism 

and local solidarity after a historically 

divisive election season.

One of  these projects – a 

collaboration between South Side 

Community Services and CIOGC – saw 

meals provided by Zakat Foundation of  

America to over 300 elderly citizens in 

senior lodgings in Chicago’s Bronzeville 

neighborhood, who enjoyed a lunch 

of  chicken, potatoes, and greens while 

conversing and listening to gospel 

music in the facility’s common areas. An 

interfaith and multiethnic collection of 

volunteers recruited from neighborhoods 

around the city embraced the spirit of 

service as they plated and handed out 

meals to the residents while exchanging 

stories and sharing perspectives on the 

news of  the day.

“I think we’re in for an interesting 

four years,” said one senior citizen to 

another as the live broadcast of  the 

inauguration played on a television 

in the common area. The incoming 

CIOGC, Chicago Cares, and Zakat 

Foundation of America Team Up 

for MLK Service Day in Chicago



n the night of  February 4, 

the Chicago Loop Synagogue 

was defaced by a lone vandal who 

destroyed several windows and 

pasted swastikas on the façade of  the 

building. Video surveillance cameras at 

the synagogue captured images of  the 

man acting on what is widely seen as a 

religiously motivated act of  hatred.

In response, CIOGC Board 

members including Dr. Mohammed 

Kaiseruddin and Tasneem Osmani, as 

well as other Chicago Muslim leaders 

and members of  the faith community, 

gathered on February 8 at the Chicago 

Loop Synagogue in a show of  solidarity 

and support for the Jewish community 

and against anti-Semitism and hate. 

The event, titled “Love Thy Neighbor,” 

brought together a delegation of  

representatives from various Jewish, 

Christian, and Muslim communities to 

offer words of  comfort and support 

and send a message that the United 

States of  America is and ought to be a 

diversely religious nation.

“We offer our support to our 

neighbors at the Chicago Loop 

Synagogue and stand firmly with the 

Jewish community against these acts 

of  hate.” said Aymen Abdel Halim, 

CIOGC Communications Director, in a 

letter to the synagogue.

“During a time of  increased 

Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, our 

communities’ resolve to overcome 

remains unshaken. This is a testament 

to our faiths, collective strength, and 

resiliency as communities to overcome 

hate. We stand closer today with the 

Jewish community to say hate has 

no place in our neighborhoods and 

to reaffirm our commitment to fight 

against it with you every step of  the 


Pastor Chris Harris of  the Bright 

Star Church articulated the need for 

popular mobilization, reminding the 

congregants “we should say nothing 

about violence until we do something 

about violence. We should say nothing 

about hatred until we do something 

about hatred.”

Speaking to CIOGC after the 

event, Dr. Reverend Otis Moss III of  

the Trinity United Church of  Christ 

elaborated on the need for interfaith 

action in preserving American civic 

life, and stated, “The broad nature of  

interfaith work ultimately strengthens 

democracy. To have a Muslim work 

with a Sikh who communicates to a 

Pentecostal who is standing with a 

Jew…this is the essence of  civic life, it 

is the essence of  ‘Love Thy Neighbor.’”

A suspect has since been arrested by 

Chicago Police in relation to the anti-

Semitic vandalism perpetrated at the 

Chicago Loop Synagogue and is being 

held on $150,000 bail. ♦

CIOGC Expresses Solidarity 

With Jewish Community at 

“Love Thy Neighbor” Event



he Muslim Education Center 

(MEC) in Morton Grove held an 

“Empowering the Diverse Community” 

event on January 29 which brought 

together an estimated 1,500 people 

of  all faiths and backgrounds for 

a solidarity march and rally against 

President Donald Trump’s executive 

order banning Muslim refugees from 

seven countries.

The event, which had been in the 

works for months, was expected to draw 

in 300 people, but President Trump’s 

executive order which sent a shockwave 

through the entire country, helped 

mobilize a crowd that flowed from the 

MEC basement to their parking lot.

Despite the cold, snowy weather, 

the event brought out politicians and 

religious leaders from the Muslim, 

Jewish, and Christian communities. 

The program started with musical 

performances by the Niles West Choir 

and Cantor Jay O’Brien, a member of  

Congregation Solel in Highland Park 

who played guitar as he serenaded the 

hundreds of  people who squeezed 

tightly into the room. The crowd was 

then asked by Niles West Choir director, 

Matthew Hunter, to join hands with 

those surrounding them to sing “We 

Shall Overcome” in unison. The crowd 

followed suit and the entire room 

became one big human link.

The event drew in not only adults, but 

youth too. Miriam Berkson, a junior at 

Niles North high school and a Jewish 

American woman narrated the story of  

her school environment the day after 

Donald Trump was elected President. 

She explained how the first people she 

saw that day were her two very good 

friends, a black woman and a Middle 

Eastern man, who were “sobbing and 

holding onto each other with fear and 

worry for the future.” Berkson left the 

crowd with words of  encouragement by 

saying, “[Trump’s] hate can make us feel 

small, and fearful; but his hate can also 

unify us and make us strong.”

As the one and a half  mile walk was 

set to begin, the hundreds of  people 

waiting outside were taking pictures 

with signs and cheering. The loud crowd 

also got the sound of  approval from 

cars that drove by as they rolled down 

their windows and honked their horns. 

Among those who marched was Anis 

Elahi of  Lincolnwood who said, “I am 

so thrilled and so honored that all these 

people respect what’s going on.”

After the walk concluded, participants 

warmed up with a cup of  hot chocolate 

and jam packed into a gymnasium to 

hear words from local politicians and 

event organizers as well as testimonies. 

State Representative Jan Schakowsky 

of  the 9th district promised to stand 

with any group that the Trump 

administration attacked, “If  God forbid, 

they build a registry for Muslims, we are 

all Muslims!”

Event organizers Dilnaz Waraich of  

the Muslim Community Center (MCC) 

and Lesley Williams of  Jewish Voice for 

Peace closed the rally by encouraging 

people to contact Governor Bruce 

Rauner and urge him to make Illinois a 

sanctuary state, with Waraich reminding 

the crowd that, “This is a movement, 

not a one-day event.” ♦

Muslim, Interfaith Community 

March and Rally Against 

‘Muslim Ban’ in Morton Grove


Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 


Senator Durbin, Legal 

Community Challenge 

‘Muslim Ban’



IOGC co-founder, former Chair, 

and current Ex-Officio Board 

Member, Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin, 

CIOGC Vice Chair Shahnawaz Khan 

and approximately 25 Muslim leaders 

met with Chicago Mayor Rahm 

Emanuel, the Deputy Mayor, Andrea 

Zopp, First Deputy Superintendent 

of  Police, Kevin Navarro, as well 

as representatives from the Office 

of  New Americans on January 12 

to discuss safeguarding the Muslim 

community and immigrant and refugee 

communities in general in response 

to President Donald Trump’s policies 

to deport millions of  undocumented 

immigrants and impose a ban on 

Muslim immigrants.

Mayor Emanuel reaffirmed his 

support for Chicago’s Welcoming 

City Ordinance and Sanctuary City 

Resolution which protect immigrant 

and refugee rights and promote the 

city’s commitment to diversity and 

inclusion. Dr. Kaiseruddin thanked 

the Mayor for organizing the meeting 

and taking several actions aimed at 

protecting the immigrants and Muslims 

in the city, as well as meeting with the 

President-elect on behalf  of  Mayors of  

major cities. Upon asking the Mayor if  

it was possible to establish a hate crime 

hotline similar to the one established 

by Cook County Sheriff  Tom Dart, the 

Mayor stated that existing emergency 

lines (911 and 311) should be sufficient 

to report a hate crime. Shahnawaz 

Khan asked the Mayor about relief  for 

Chicago mosques’ water bills to which 

the he said is aware and working on it. 


he Council of  Islamic 

Organizations of  Greater Chicago 

(CIOGC) held press conferences 

on January 27 and February 20 

to address the deeply troubling 

executive orders set by the Trump 

administration to ban refugees and 

Muslims from seven countries.

CIOGC led the January press 

conference and was joined by the 

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant 

and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Syrian 

Community Network, CAIR-Chicago, 

Jewish Voice for Peace - Chicago, 

Chicago Sinai Congregation, and 

the Council of  Religious Leaders of  

Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC).

President Trump’s executive orders, 

which he signed on January 25, bans 

most refugees and suspends visas for 

Syrian citizens, including Muslims from 

countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, 

Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Iran. 

According to Trump, the ban would 

remain for several months until more 

‘extreme vetting’ is in place. Trump 

has made an exception to religious 

minorities escaping persecution.

“The Trump administration’s 

decision to ban refugees 

contradicts the values 

we hold dear as 

Americans. The U.S. is 

and always has been a 

land of  immigrants and 

refugees. The founding 

fathers of  our nation 

escaped persecution 

and became the first 

refugees in America. To implement 

this ban would contradict the values 

of  we hold dear as Americans,” said 

Dr. Bassam Osman, Chair of  CIOGC. 

With the humanitarian disaster in Syria 

worsening, thousands of  displaced 

Syrians continue to flee their war torn 

country. According to the Pew Research 

Center, in 2016, the U.S. accepted 

over 13,000 Syrian refugees. However, 

the Trump administration is closing 

America’s door during a time of  great 

humanitarian need.

On February 20, CIOGC joined 

faith leaders CIOGC joined dozens 

of  religious leaders from the Muslim, 

Jewish, and Christian communities on 

February 20 at the Downtown Islamic 

Center for a press conference led by 

the group Protected by Faith, to form 

a united front against Trump’s ban on 

Muslims and refugees.

Aymen Abdel Halim, CIOGC 

Communications Director, started the 

press conference on a spiritual note by 

sharing a verse from Surah Al-Baqarah 

of  the Holy Quran which 

states, “But perhaps 

you hate a thing and it 

is good for you; And 

perhaps you love a thing 

and it is bad for you; And 

Allah knows, while you 

know not;” He explained 

that despite the outrage 

and trauma stemming 

from Trump’s executive 

orders, the silver lining for the Muslim 

community has been the outpouring 

of  support and solidarity from the 

faith community. Abdel Halim thanked 

Trump for bringing communities 

together, strengthening friendships and 

reaffirming American values. ♦



ver 800 hundred people filed into 

Islamic Foundation in Villa Park 

on Sunday, February 5 to learn “How 

to challenge the ‘Muslim ban.’ The ban, 

which President Donald Trump served 

as an executive order late last month, 

restricts incoming travel from seven 

Muslim-majority countries, including 

refugees from war-torn Syria.

Attendees of the event all came with 

the same agenda - to learn about how 

the Muslim ban affects the community, 

what people should expect, and how to 

build coalitions to mobilize the broader 

community. CIOGC was joined by 

Senator Richard Durbin, 

interfaith partners from 

Dominican University and 

the Council of Religious 

Leaders of Metropolitan 

Chicago (CRLMC), 

Latino leaders from the 

Resurrection Project 

and Alianza Americas, 

and legal leaders from American Civil 

Liberties Union (ACLU), Council of  

American-Islamic Relations - Chicago 

(CAIR-Chicago), and the Muslim Bar 

Association (MBA) to directly challenge 

the ban. 

This gathering was just 

one of the hundreds of  

movements happening 

around the country to 

educate people about 

all that the ‘Muslim 

ban’ encompasses, but 

more importantly to 

bring people together 

in spreading unity, 

love, and solidarity with Muslims and 

refugees. Father Brendan Curran of  

Dominican University started his speech 

by chanting “No ban, no wall, no ban, 

no wall,” before addressing the crowd 

with his words of support. “I am called 

to stand with you. Now is not the time 

to turn away from plight, oppression and 

desperation. It is not the time to turn 

away from each of you, my Muslim sisters 

and brothers.” 

While the program was about the 

‘Muslim ban,’ it also touched upon 

other marginalized communities like the 

Latino community, which is affected by 

Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. 

Erendira Rendon, Director of National 

Partnerships at the Resurrection Project, 

spoke about how attacks on the Muslim 

community are an attack on the Latino 

community. “We know that these attacks 

will continue, and as deportations rise and 

Muslims continue being 

attacked, we will make sure 

that we stand together and 

keep fighting together.” 

Groups like the 

ACLU, CAIR-Chicago, 

and CIOGC have been 

very active in response 

to the ‘Muslim ban’ by 

working with public officials and the 

legal community on behalf of those 

whose rights have been violated. Colleen 

Connell, the Executive Director of the 

ACLU in Illinois, urged the crowd to 

continue supporting these groups as they 

work to defend individuals 

affected by the ban. She 

also said that now more 

than ever, “We must all 

stand united in assuring 

that our country and 

everyone in it knows that 

Muslims are not a threat to 

our national security, and 

it is unconstitutional and un-American to 

suggest otherwise.” 

Senator Richard Durbin, a longtime 

friend of the Muslim community, took 

the podium and won the crowd over 

right away as he began his speech with 

the words, “My fellow immigrants...” He 

later revisited that point by narrating his 

own story. “My mother was an immigrant 

from Lithuania and now her son has 

the honor of representing you in the 

United States Senate.” Durbin promised 

to keep fighting for the community and 

stated that “We don’t know what the next 

executive order will say, but if they’re 

coming for the dreamers, they’ll have to 

come through me.” ♦

“But perhaps you hate a 

thing and it is good for 

you, and perhaps you love 

a thing and it is bad for 

you, and Allah knows, 

while you know not.”

Qur’an 2:216

“We don’t know what the 

next executive order will 

say, but if they’re coming 

for the dreamers, they’ll 

have to come through me.”

Senator Richard Durbin

Over 800 people 

filed into Islamic 

Foundation in Villa 

Park on Sunday, 

February 5.

Chicago Muslims Rebuke 

Trump Refugee Ban at 

Press Conferences

CIOGC Participates in Sanctuary 

City Meeting with Mayor Emanuel, 

City Officials

CIOGC, Chicago Cares, and Zakat Foundation of 

America Team Up for MLK Service Day in Chicago

administration has raised a number of  

concerns among the nation’s elderly, who 

are eagerly waiting to see how President 

Trump will handle vital services such as 

Medicare and Social Security.

“Regardless of  who sits in the 

White House, it is necessary that we 

the people pick up the slack when it 

comes to looking after our own,” one 

of  the volunteers mused as she plated 

mashed potatoes from behind the row 

of  heating trays, occasionally glancing 

up at the television as America’s first 

African American president climbed into 

a military helicopter and waved goodbye 

to the nation.

As tensions in society increase, we 

look around and we see an America 

not so unlike the America of  King and 

Kennedy. Though King himself  has long 

since passed, his ideals, his memory, and 

his methods will be carried by another 

generation of  Americans as we take 

another step towards the ideal nation 

that we believe ourselves to be. ♦


Aymen Abdel Halim, CIOGC Communications Director, 

at February 20 press conference

Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 




s part of National Human Trafficking 

Awareness Month, CIOGC 

interviewed Itedal Shalabi, Co-Executive 

Director of Arab American Family 

Services (AAFS) in Bridgeview, Illinois. 

What is the definition of  human 

Also known as “modern day slavery” 

human trafficking is the recruitment, 

transportation, transfer, or harboring 

of persons against their will - by means 

of threats, use of force or other forms 

of coercion, abduction, and deception. 

Human trafficking is the abuse of  

power, exploitation of a position of  

vulnerability or of the giving of payments 

or benefits to achieve the consent of a 

person for the purpose of exploitation. 

Human trafficking is forcing victims into 

prostitution, subjecting them to slavery 

or involuntary servitude and compelling 

victims to commit sex acts for the purpose 

of creating pornography. 

Are human trafficking and slavery the 

Human trafficking and slavery can mean 

two different things though they are very 

similar. Human trafficking is when a 

person is recruited, harbored, provided, or 

obtained for the purposes of exploitation 

– often sold as an object. Modern-day 

slavery involves exploiting people, through 

forced labor or sex. 

As Muslims, what is our perspective on 

human trafficking and slavery? 
Islamic Law calls for the welfare and 

well-being of all humankind according 

to the principles of justice and mercy - 

especially by calling for the elimination of  

the institution of slavery, the prohibition 

of exploitation of human beings in all 

its forms, the rejection of oppression 

and hardship, and the promotion of the 

duty of the public to promote good and 

prohibit evil. On the authority of Abu 

Sa’eed al-Khudree (ra) who said: 

I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) 

say, “Whoso-ever of you sees an evil, let 

him change it with his hand; and if he is 

not able to do so, then [let him change it] 

with his tongue; and if he is not able to do 

so, then with his heart — and that is the 

weakest of faith.”  

If we as Muslims need to live up to our 

principles we have to act on what Allah 

(swt) and his prophet (saaw) told us. We 

need to reject human trafficking; we need 

to be involved; we need to be educated; 

we need to fund programs; we need to 

pray for those who are working to end 

it and support them in their endeavor to 

do so. We need to have Khutbas in our 


Can you share some statistics on 

human trafficking in Chicago? 

It is such a clandestine issue that we may 

never know an exact number, however, 

there are 27 million known cases 

worldwide. Nationwide, there are 5,748 

known human trafficking cases and in 

Illinois, 153 have been reported. 

Who are the victims of  human 

Trafficking doesn’t have a specific 

victim. Trafficking occurs to adults 

and minor children both nationally 

and internationally. Victims come 

from all sorts of economic, cultural, 

and religious backgrounds. Whether a 

victim is documented or undocumented 

doesn’t really play a role here. Traffickers 

target victims using specific methods of  

recruitment and control that they find 

to be effective in evoking interest of the 

individual into forced labor or commercial 

sex. A majority of the time a person’s 

circumstances and/or vulnerabilities 

tend to lead to higher susceptibility 

including runaway and homeless minors, 

immigrants looking for a better quality of  

life, individuals who experienced violence 

or trauma in their life, women who had a 

history of domestic violence and or sexual 

assault, and people wanting to escape war 

torn countries. 

What kinds of  human trafficking cases 

do we see in Chicago? 

Chicago sees its share of human 

trafficking. One of the biggest 

human trafficking cases seen in the 

Chicagoland area is sex trafficking in 

the forms of prostitution. According to 

traffickingfreedomil.org, Chicago is the most 

likely port of entry for trafficking victims. 

Aside from sex trafficking another 

big issue in the Chicago area is domestic 

servants or labor trafficking. Again, since 

Chicago is the port 

of entry for most 

trafficking victims, 

many of the victims 

are brought into the 

city with intentions of  

dehumanizing them. 

Labor traffickers have 

intentions of making 

their victims their personal modern day 


How do you identify a victim of  

human trafficking? 
These are some red flags when identifying 

a victim of human trafficking: They 

are never alone and/or always have 

someone translating or answering 

questions on their behalf; they have 

unexplained bruises or cuts or other signs 

of physical abuse; they’re not in control 

of their own finances; they appear to 

be in a relationship with someone who 

is dominating; they are under 18 and 

providing commercial sex acts or at any 

age unwillingly providing commercial 

sex acts; they present with secrecy or are 

unable to answer questions about where 

they live. 

What should people do if  they suspect 

a human trafficking situation? 
If human trafficking is suspected it 

should be reported right away to law 

enforcement. Have law enforcement 

investigate the situation and resolve it. 

Do not get involved, but if you can offer 

support to the victim, by knowing where 

to refer them it would be great. 

What can a community member do to 

help stop human trafficking? 

A community member can educate the 

victim and provide hotline numbers, or 

help them call the police. They can also 

refer them to the closest agency in the 

community but first community members 

need to be educated on how to identify a 

person as a victim of human trafficking in 

order to offer any help. 

How can community members show 

support to victims/

First, they should never 

blame the victims/

survivors. Many people 

are scared to come out 

and talk about their 

experiences because they 

are worried about being judged. Building 

an environment that is welcoming will 

not only help them emotionally but it 

may also cause others to step up and seek 

assistance. Another thing community 

members could do is help victims/

survivors find resources to help them 

cope and empower them.  

The Illinois National Human 

Trafficking Hotline is a great source to 

learn about human trafficking and allows 

survivors/victims to find various places 

that can help them. The last thing is 

education for not only the survivors/

victims but also community members. 

Seminars open our eyes to the things 

that are happening around us. I attended 

a lecture at my community college that 

made me feel blinded to the fact that this 

is still happening!  

It changed my perspective completely 

because society makes us believe that the 

survivors/victims are at fault that this 

happened to them which is not true. Even 

after discussing what I had learned with 

friends and family, people still denied 

that this is still an issue today. This is 

why seminars and faith-based programs 

should be readily available to the public. 

These programs will let survivors/victims 

know that they can seek assistance with 

whatever they need. These programs will 

also educate the community to be able to 

step up and help those who are survivors/

victims of trafficking. ♦ 

Human Trafficking Awareness: An Interview with Itedal Shalabi



















1. Donate to a local organization doing humanitarian 

work for Syrians. In-kind donations are always 

appreciated (such as coats, medical supplies, etc.) 

especially if you have access to a large unused stock, 

but cash is more useful in filling the gaps.  

2. Volunteer for a local organization! Your money 

is valuable, but your time and your labor goes a 

lot farther in providing services to newly arrived 

refugees. Organizations like Syrian Community 

Network, Zakat Foundation of America, and ICNA 

Relief are the best places to start.  

3. Visit refugees in the hospital – many refugees 

requiring medical attention are hundreds of miles 

from family and friends so even a visit from a 

stranger helps to break the monotony.  

4. Defend their dignity when you can! If you hear or see 

your peers express disparaging sentiments towards 

refugees, do not be afraid to express your solidarity 

with them. It goes a long way to reducing social 

stigma and fostering a welcoming atmosphere.  

5. Offer your genuine friendship. Most refugees arrive in 

this country knowing very few others, if any. The best 

investment you can make is to be their friend, invite 

them to a meal or a movie, and give them a way to 

stay in touch. ♦

Chicago Crescent

March 2017/Jumadal-Akhirah - Rajab 1438 



not appreciate discrimination and will 

try to stand against it and whatever else 

is wrong. In my opinion, they might be 

scared to have a voice because of what 

the media might say or because of  the 

rising Islamophobia. However, they are 

willing to break their shell to show the 

country that they are proud American 

citizens. They want to do what it takes to 

see positive changes in the country they 

call home.

That is exactly how I perceive myself  

and countless others to be: willing to 

do what it takes to make America even 

better. After seeing a few politically 

proactive Muslims in my community, I 

realized that there is nothing stopping 

me from taking a part in government. 

It was made for people like me to voice 

opinions, represent, and lead. I just need 

to begin walking in the right direction.

My experience as a Senate Page 

put me in the middle of the action. It 

allowed me to see how the legislative 

process takes place. It was an experience 

I am building on and helps me get closer 

to my goal of  becoming a government 

official one day. I have been in school 

government for a few years, and I 

enjoy leadership roles. The Senate Page 

Program was an opportunity for me 

to apply what I have learned and also 

experience the political process on a 

bigger scale. Also, the Senators I met 

represent my state, so it helped me 

understand what legislation is worked on 

and who it applies to. Becoming a Senate 

Page allowed me to see firsthand the 

kind of  government Lincoln thought of  

when he proclaimed, “Of  the people, by 

the people, for the people.” 

have the mentality that ‘If  we keep 

doing “A” the results will be “B”,’ in 

almost every situation. However, every 

child is different. We have to find 

resources that interest youth and make 

sense in their cultural context. Working 

with mosques, we find that the last 

item of  importance is hiring a qualified 

Youth Director. We are willing to pay 

for anything except this. Why fund the 

gym floor when there are no youth to 

play on it? 

Once one decides to get involved 

there are so many lessons to learn. The 

best thing I’ve learned is that the results 

are up to Allah (swt). You may pour 

everything you have on a child, make 

yourself  sick worrying about them, but 

in the end the results are up to Him 

(swt). I would be crushed when a youth 

didn’t take my advice and ended up 

choosing something that hurt them. 

I would stew over how I could have 

handled it better. But I needed to realize 

that it had nothing to do with me, and 

everything to do with Allah (swt) and 

the youth’s own personal journey.  

The great thing about mentorship 

is that it builds your patience. It makes 

you a better person in the struggle. 

All the Prophets (AS) were shepherds. 

It trained them for something bigger. 

It takes so much patience to lead and 

guide sheep, but more so for humans! 

Allah (swt) won’t ask you about the 

results of  your mentorship. He (swt) 

will ask us if  we tried our best and 

did everything we could to make a 

difference. If  we don’t invest in our 

youth now, who will be there to carry 

on the struggle? 

 Aliyah Banister is a Licensed Counselor 

specializing her work with the American 

Muslim community. She graduated with a 

master’s degree from University of  Michigan 

– Ann Arbor, focusing on clinical social work 

with an emphasis on marriage, family, and 


The Value of Youth Mentorship

The People’s 

Government: My 

Experience as a 

Senate Page




The Mecca Center Hiring Youth Coordinator



The responsibility of the Youth Coordinator is to provide  development,  coordination  and  oversight  
of  youth  services,  and to build  a  positive  youth program. He  or  she  must  integrate  recreational  
and  artistic  activities  with  educational  and  spiritual components  and  provide  leadership  to  youth,  
including  but  not  limited  to  tutoring  and  mentorship programs, community service, education and 
cultural programs. 


  To instill the American Muslim Identity in the youth by educating  them  about  the  basics  of  Islamic  

faith  and  practice within the American cultural context. 

  Increase self-confidence and self-esteem in youth by developing youth leadership, facilitating positive 

peer-group relationships, and promoting bonds of friendship 

  Expand the youth activities and nurture culture of volunteerism. 


  Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in humanities, 

counseling and social sciences and Islamic scholarship. 

  Must be fluent in the English language, oral and written. 

  Must have extensive experience in working with youth and managing volunteers. 

  Involvement in Islamic educational work, program development and successful implementation. 

  Must be familiar with issues faced by youth raised in North America.   

  Use of MS Office/Google Docs and the ability to create and maintain databases in Excel. 

  Works well in a team environment and networking opportunities. 

  Planning/organizing/implementing large-scale events/programs/activities as needed.  

  Advanced knowledge and understanding of Islam. 

Work hours 

This is a full time job (40 hours) that requires work in the evenings, on holidays, and the weekends. 


Enthusiastic and qualified applicants, please email your resume to: 



More info and details are available at: meccacenter.org. 


n February 27, the Council of  

Islamic Organizations of  Greater 

Chicago (CIOGC) partnered with 

United Muslims Moving 

Ahead (UMMA) at 

DePaul University to 

present the first of  a six-

part lecture series titled 

Clearing up Controversy. 

The lecture, titled “Law 

of  Allah? Law of  the 

land? Or both?,” focused 

on Shariah in the 21st 

century and societal 

expectations of  law and 

religion. Dozens of  students joined the 

discussion led by Abdul Malik Ryan, 

Muslim Chaplain for DePaul University, 

and engaged in discussion on the many 

issues of  law and how it is enforced, the 

differences between fiqh and shariah, 

and the relevance of  Shariah in the 

United States.

“It was a beautiful exchange that led 

to the understanding that as Muslim 

Americans we have a duty to protect 

the sanctity of  our 

religion’s most trusted 

rituals and expectations 

given to us by God, but 

that we also have a duty to 

uphold the values of  our 

US Constitution. Contrary 

to popular belief, Shariah 

and our Constitution have 

many, many parallels.” said 

Jameel Karim, CIOGC 

Youth Coordinator. Abdul 

Malik Ryan added to this sentiment 

and reminded the audience, “Shariah 

is beautiful and a path for people to be 

guided... We should love it and look to 

it for guidance as well as show others its 

beauty and not be afraid of  it.” ♦

“Shariah is beautiful 

and a path for people to 

be guided... We should 

love it and look to it for 

guidance as well as show 

others its beauty and not 

be afraid of it.”

Abdul Malik Ryan, Muslim 

Chaplain for DePaul University

“Clearing Up Controversy” Event 

Offers Platform for Discussion