Building on Numbers

Article excerpt

Welcome to the 47th annual ISNA Convention, where an estimated 30,000 Muslims will gather to discuss "Nurturing Compassionate Communities." We love coming to Chicago to see what our fellow Muslims are up to. They always inspire us with their beyond-the-mosque activities. For example, in Apr. 2010, more than 1,000 of them rallied in the state capital, Springfield, for fresh food for inner cities, prevention of foreclosures, and teaching English to immigrants at mosques.

Muslim ACTION! Day, coordinated by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (www.ciogc.org), drew nearly 1,000 (mostly young) participants. Their readiness to dedicate themselves to advocating for mainstream issues created a synergy that led to doubling the number of last year's participants. And considering the pattern, these numbers should only continue to increase. Would that this were the case with all of our communities!

But there is even more. Chicago's Muslims are showing North American Muslims that there is life beyond creating infrastructures. Civic activism and welfare activities have not adversely affected the improvements of mosques and schools; indeed, new projects continue to prosper. The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), IQRA, Sound Vision and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) call Chicago home, as does America's first green mosque and the first liaison to the Governor for Muslim Affairs. IMAN has partnered with ISNA to create a home for formerly incarcerated Muslims. There, they will find both shelter and training that can help them reenter the mainstream.

Chicago's estimated 400,000 Muslims are making their presence recognized as a positive force. …