Mary Ali was a faithful supporter of the work of CCME as a member of our advisory board, as well as a supporter of the work of all who were promoting positive Christian-Muslim relations in Chicago. Our prayers go out to her family in this time of mourning. May God grant them peace.
This is an article that just appeared in the Chicago Tribune about her:
With roots in a small town in Iowa, Mary Ali seemed an unlikely prospect to become a follower of Islam and a leader in the Muslim community in Chicago.
But an investigation of Islam for a high school essay and a friendship with a Muslim man who would later become her husband led her to convert.
“The logic and simplicity of Islamic teachings really attracted her,” said her daughter Nilofer Ali-Rodgers. “She decided Islam was the right faith to follow.”
Mrs. Ali became an early member of the Muslim Community Center in Chicago, a co-founder, with her late husband, of the Institute of Islamic Information & Education, and a friend and mentor to young Muslims, particularly young women, many of whom called her “Mary Auntie.”
Mrs. Ali, 72, died of complications of leukemia Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago. She had lived in Chicago since 1967, except for four years spent in Saudi Arabia.
Mrs. Ali grew up as a Christian in northwest Iowa. Her first look at Islam came when she was assigned to choose a world religion for a high school essay subject.