Byline: James Fuller Daily Herald Staff Writer
Facing new challenges and perceptions changed by the terrorist attacks of last year, several hundred Muslims gathered Thursday in Rosemont to promote unity and increase understanding of the Islamic faith.
The beginning of a four-day conference at the Donald E. Stephens Convention center offered a broad, but focused, sampling of the overlying theme -"Muslim Americans for a Better World."
Muslims from across the country are expected to attend. Organizers estimate some 15,000 attendees will take part in various panels.
Discussion on the first day covered Muslim-American history, teaching at Islamic schools, Muslim women in the Western world, immigration law, parenting and politics.
Nearly 60 panelists representing a "Who's Who" of experts on the Islamic faith and Muslim world will speak during the conference.
Young Muslims have special programs they can attend that will allow children to learn about their faith through a variety of skits and competitions.
During presentation breaks, a bazaar is available in a separate room. Religious books and literature about marriage, jihad, prayers, charity and several translations of the Quran are on sale. Various Islamic tapes and music are available as are koofies, jilbabs, ababyahs and other clothing. Toys and jewelry may also be purchased.
The Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America organized the conference, the second this year, in hopes that all the grass-roots organizations of their faith will eventually come together in one voice. …