Muslim program aimed at spreading understanding
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:33AM
Morton Grove residents will have a chance to learn more about Islam next week in what members of the Morton Grove Community Relations Commission are hoping will lead to a better understanding of the religion.
The event, “Muslim Faith and Culture: A Neighborhood Q&A,” is being cosponsored by the commission and Muslim Education Center.
It runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Morton Grove Public Library, 6140 Lincoln Ave.
“We are all neighbors and friends and we all live together,” said Janice Cha, a member of the Community Relations Commission. “Maybe they (Muslims) go to a different church, but they are people too.”
Cha said the idea for the informational meeting came out of talks among commission members following several anti-Muslim incidents last summer, including a local one in which a neighbor of the Muslim Education Center is charged with firing an air rifle at the school.
Other anti-Muslim hate crime incidents occurred both in the Chicago area and nationwide, Cha noted.
“All of these together made us think we had to do a better job of providing information and spreading cultural understanding,” she said.
Cha said commission members spoke with Habeeb Quadri, principal of the Muslim school in Morton Grove. “He said he would be willing to do something,” Cha said.
Quadri will be one of three speakers at the meeting.
In addition to serving as principal of the Muslim Community Center Full Time school Quadri has written four books on Islam and social issues, has lectured through the country and overseas and is part-time staff and student at the Harvard University Principals’ Center.
Abeer Saleh, a teacher and head of he science department at the school, also will speak and answer questions.
Saleh was born in Palatine and raised in Chicago. He taught at Clinton Elementary School for several years.
The third speaker will be Omer Mozaffer, a lecturer at the University of Chicago in the Asian Classics program.
He also serves as adjunct professor of theology at Loyola University, is a life-long member of the Muslim community in Chicago and has given more than 1,500 lectures on Islam since the attack on the World Trade Center.
Cha said she expects people who are “open minded” to attend the event. At the same time though, she said she would like to attract people who may have negative feelings about Islam.
“People who are generally open-minded are interested,” Cha said. “We’d like to have people who do not hold any belief.”
Cha noted that the library was chosen as a “neutral location” for the meeting.
People who attend the session will have a chance to ask questions. In addition members of the Community Relations Commission have prepared a list of topics that includes such tings as food and fasting among Muslims, famous Muslims in the United States, traditional clothing and an explanation of Shariah law.